Tech Fails

My Robot Vacuum is an Idiot

Can we just talk about how my Roomba keeps getting stuck in random places in my house?   I find this a little bit funny because a Roomba probably represents $100 million worth of research and iterative technology, so it should be well beyond the kind of shenanigans I find it getting in.   I would return it, but a) it does a good job when it can actually figure out how to navigate around my house (its ONE AND ONLY JOB) and b) the way it fails makes me laugh every single time.

Here are some situations the robot vac has gotten itself into:

  1.  Got caught on string from the area rug.  Ended up flipping itself completely over.  Error.
  2. Got tangled in a bunch of wires next to my desk that I had ALREADY PROGRAMMED IT TO AVOID.  Error.
  3. Ran over the surge protector next to my desk, turning it to “off” and unplugging everything on my desk in the process.  Error.
  4. Attempted to dock itself but kept missing the little ramp.  Repeated this until it ran out of battery.  Error.
  5. Went into the guest room, pushed the door closed, then couldn’t get out.  Error.


In case you think I am exaggerating, here is a photo of # 4:



What is also quite strange about this robot is that it is connected to an app on my phone, and almost every time it ends up stranded somewhere and I have to go save it, shortly after I get a notification from the app, asking me “How did the robot do?” and wanting me to rate it using some kind of star system.

Why am I involved in this feedback loop?  I am as sure as I can be that even if I were to give the robot a rating reflective of its actual performance, nothing would come of this feedback.  I’m pretty sure every rating doesn’t go back to Roomba Corporate for review.  Even if it did, I know I’m not going to be creating a logbook of all the hilarious ways this vacuum has failed, to provide free market testing and reporting to Roomba.

Oh wait.  Maybe that’s what I’m doing now.   Well, I guess if you work at Roomba and you’re reading this, your robot is a dumb-dumb.   Hit me up if you want to hire me to document it for you!