Trevor, A Robot Vacuum Update
After using my robot vacuum Trevor a few more times, I decided to add to my original post. I still love Trevor and the ability to click a button, freak the cats out, and then leave as the Tesvor X500 sweeps up such a large amount of cat fur, human hair, and dust. But I have noticed a few additional things.
Preparing to vacuum is similar to “toddler proofing” a home.
Before you vacuum, you must make sure your home is ready to vacuum. Are all small items off the floor? Do you see any potential where the robot vacuum could get stuck? Are all cables hidden? Are all doors fully shut?
As I rescued Trevor yet again from being trapped between a mat and my dishwasher, I was reminded of preparing my home for a two year old to visit. Think you have everything put away? Think again! They (either the robot or the child) are bound to find something.
Like with toddler proofing a home, each time Trevor is let loose the home becomes more robust for his next trip. After several tries, I have learned how to “Trevor proof” my home.
They will attempt to eat all the things.
As I mentioned previously, I am able to check the status of Trevor from any location through the smartphone app. One day, I noticed a problem with Trevor. Through the app, he complained that his brushes were stuck. I knew he was stuck in the dinning area, but I could not think of what would have caused that. He had navigated my dinning table and chairs multiple times without issue. When I came home, the cause of the entanglement became rather apparent.
Trevor had attempted to eat my mac laptop charger.
I quickly texted another engineer to sanity check my conclusion that my charger was not beyond repair and all I needed to do was wrap a bit of electrical tape around it in order to prevent further damage. Well to that and remember to pick it up off the floor so Trevor would not eat it again.
The smartphone app is just okay.
Trevor employees a system called “smart mapping.” According to the manufacture, “Tesvor X500 automatically plans the path for each cleaning and adapts to your home. It cleans more efficiently and provides real time mapping of your floor plan on the app. A truly intelligent device that works with S-shaped cleaning paths.”
What the manufacturer does not tell you is that as soon as the vacuum has docked, that real time mapping of your floor plan on the app is erased.
From a programming standpoint, I understand why they chose to do this. By erasing the floor plan history, Trevor is forced to start fresh each time he leaves his dock. This prevents him from making assumptions about furniture that could have moved. It is much easier to just erase rather than store it. This is a very standard programming issue that I address frequently at work.
That being said, if Trevor successfully cleans and docks himself, I have no history of what he did. I would prefer to be able to look back on his “stats.”
Floor plan matters.
Not all homes are well suited for a robot vacuum. Robots like same floor type, and they work better on hardwood than they do on carpet. The battery will last longer. I knew my downstairs was good for Trevor due to only having dark hardwood floors and most of my furniture sits a few inches above the ground. This allows Trevor to vacuum underneath it and pick up dust that I would never get on my own.
If I were to suddenly add multiple rugs, Trevor’s efficiency would degrade significantly.
Despite all words of caution, Trevor is still worth it.
There is something hypnotizing about watching a machine perform a task that you do not want to do. For Trevor’s first several vacuum cycles, the cats and I just followed him around the house and watched him work. The cats still do that any time he starts up.
If you have a floor plan conducive to a robot vacuum and you are able to find one at a fair price, I encourage you to purchase it. Trevor has been a worthwhile addition to this Clearly Alive family.