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Roomba

People Are Becoming Friends With Their Robot Vacuums

Remember when Roombas were all the rage? Well, apparently a significant percentage of Roomba owners actually consider the robot vacuum a part of the family. 

Much like the Hoover, which now acts both a noun and a verb, Roomba very quickly became a household name with the intuitive technology luring families with little time for cleaning into making the purchase. 

Since the Roomba was launched back in 2002, over 40 million robot vacuums have been introduced to homes all over the world with the Roomba brand accounting for 88 percent of the robot vacuum market. 

So, how do they actually work? Powered by rechargeable batteries, the robot is an autonomous vacuum which uses sensors, motors and algorithms to navigate around objects in the home and lasting around two hours when fully charged. 

People are seriously becoming friends with their robotic vacuums:

More recent models of the vacuum now use infrared sensors to help the robot better detect dust and large obstacles with some of the higher-end models incorporating cameras, enabling the vacuum to create a detailed map of the home. 

Not only are the new models more intuitive, but they also have the ability to communicate with other products around the home including a robot mop.

Since their release, the robot vacuums which are usually about 10cm high and around 30 cm in length, have become more than a piece of furniture in most homes with some studies showing people consider the robot a part of the family. 

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According to a study by Deacon University, the eight percent of Australians who own a robot vacuum regard the robot as their friend. 

“It had a different status to other technology in the home,” Cosmos Magazine journalist Petra Stock said. 

A similar study was done by the Georgia Institute of Technology where 30 households with 48 participants, who had never used a robotic appliance, were asked to use a robot vacuum for up to six months. 

“The households were visited by the researchers before the robot’s arrival to introduce the robot. Then two weeks later, while the relationship was still fresh, two months and six months later,” Petra said.

Participants were asked to report back if anything memorable happened which saw researchers receive some very surprising results. 

Put your thinking caps on, folks. Huh? Science Explained is here, the twice weekly podcast brought to you by LiSTNR and Cosmos. Hosted by Cosmos’ very own science journos, this is the podcast that will answer all of life’s questions – in just 10 minutes. Hear it on the LiSTNR app now.