If you are keeping track, about a month ago I got a Roomba robot vacuum, Johnny 6. Our house has been so much cleaner due to the awesomeness that is a robot vacuum. He cleans under beds, he sweeps up all the dog hair and sand that our house is rife with, and he entertains all. Now, Roombas have a few fun party tricks; they can detect walls and drops (i.e. they don’t fall down stairs), when they get stuck they chirp for help, and when they are done cleaning they drive back to their charging base and recharge themselves. The best part of the self-charging is that when they get to their base, they play a “ta-da!!!!” song to let you know how smart and cool they are. Overall, the things are smart and make you laugh at all the weird stuff they have been programmed to do. In the past week however, Johnny 6′s programming has gone horribly awry.
When you tell Johnny 6 to clean, he spends the entire time avoiding invisible obstacles. He’ll drive forwards an inch, jerk to a stop, reverse, turn, repeat. Basically he just stays in one place, freaking out. I called customer support, went through all the possible problems, and was finally told to send Johnny 6 back to his maker (iRobot in massachusetts). It turns out that his cliff sensors are malfunctioning- he thinks he is always just about to fall off a cliff. poor Johnny 6- all he wants to do is clean my house, and I keep putting him on some kind of invisible pedestal just to taunt him. Hopefully he’ll get fixed and be sent to a kinder owner, who knows what the future holds for him… goodbye Johnny 6, we loved ye.