I have this thing rolling around my floor like a demented green bush hat. It’s a Sabco RoboSweep and it’s doing a surprisingly good job of dusting my wooden floors.
When compared to the robotic vacuum cleaners you read about, this couldn’t be simpler. There’s no mapping or the room, no multiple sensors, and, actually, no vacuuming. There’s a biased ball that pushes a microfiber dust-cloth around in a drunkards walk covering of the room. If the device hits something it backs away and rolls off in a new direction. Let it go on a wooden floor and it does a better than fair job of picking up dust and hair. And all for around $40.
I must admit I originally bought this with the thought that even if it didn’t clean well there would be some interest in dismantling and re-using the parts from the rolling ball. It’s working so well though that there’s going to be no dismantling of the little green guy going on in our household.
Because it’s not actively vacuuming there’s not a lot of noise while the RoboSweep does it’s stuff: Just a persistent rolling sound. It’s a mild shame that the ball isn’t covered with a softer material to deaden even that sound, but I’m guessing that a hard surface was required so that it could slide against it’s cage without getting stuck.
The dustcloth is stuck to the cage with velcro and can be stuck in the washing machine when required. There are two buttons, one to choose how long you want the RoboSweep to run for and the other to turn it off.
Really this whole set up is so simple that I’m not sure it’s worthy of being called a robot. It’s just extraordinarily simple: But, for all that, extremely effective. It’s also, rather strangely, quite compelling to watch in action. It moves so fast that at first sight it’s like having a cat scoot about your floor, albeit a green cat that looks like a hat.
Right now the RoboSweep appears to be only available from Woolworths and Bunnings.
UPDATE: Since I first wrote this, we’ve noticed that the RoboSweep is leaving slight scratches on the wooden floor. It’s particularly noticeable along the walls. The robot will hit the wall and then move along it, after its done that several times, which the nature of its controls makes inevitable, it’s scratching a path into the floor. Sadly, it turns out it is time to dismantle.