back to article Squidge-droids maker updates iRobot for SUCK, SCRUB action

How do you get to sell 10 million robots? By appealing to the laziness in us... It’s perhaps not the way iRobot would choose to describe its business model, but coming from space race roots and military manoeuvres – it originally made Darpa's squidgy squeezy soft warbot – to end up making megabucks cleaning household floors …


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  1. Will Stephenson


    Can we not just agree for the purpose of Reg article titles that any cleaning robot is a skutter?

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: Skutters

      As an owner of four, with three remaining nearly functional iRobot units, I'll agree.

      They're shitters.

      They converted an unmitigated piece of shit into a mitigated piece of shit.

      The shit is likely to remain operational.

      So, is the new model immune to circle dance, leaks and the other assortments of maladies and possibly even work properly?

      I'll not risk a penny to find out. If they want to provide a free upgrade for two new models, I'll consider it.

      But, I'm willing to guess that that is not an option.

      1. Kepler

        Re: Skutters

        They converted an unmitigated piece of shit into a mitigated piece of shit.

        Well and nicely put!

        And not too far off as description of Windows 8.1 as well, I should think.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still won't get into the corners though...

    1. ravenviz

      The rotating side brush means it *does* get into the corners.

      I have an old 500-series and have been using it for years. Really it's a dust buster that I can switch on before going out, covers my whole flat and is parked again, fully charged, when I come home. Usually the dust-bin (not the main bin) is full of dust that I can then throw away so it really works well for that in a pet-free home. It also gathers up long head hair into balls that it leaves around the place that are easy to pick up and throw away.

      However you still need to have a proper hoover around the place from time to time.

      I get on with it anyway.

      1. SuccessCase

        "However you still need to have a proper hoover around the place from time to time."

        That's what I found to be most disappointing about my Roomba. It makes the room look very clean (its great for that, and I'm grateful for the reduced workload), the problem I find is it doesn't take enough fine dust out of circulation. Fine dust seems to go straight through the filter. I know you can't eliminate dusting, but if the Roomba is covering 60-70% of the horizontal surfaces in my flat, I would expect the fact it runs frequently on a schedule means it should reduce the amount of dusting required. But it hasn't done, not even by a tiny bit. Indeed, if anything it seems to make the fine dust situation worse, blowing the stuff out over the surfaces everywhere it goes.

        Would be interested to hear from anyone who has the HEPA filter model, if that does a better job with dust.

        1. Wzrd1

          "its great for that, and I'm grateful for the reduced workload"

          Yes, but if you have to disassemble it monthly to clean out optical sensors, replace a filter monthly and clear the bin often (actually, I'm cool with that!), it becomes an issue.

          The sensors gave it circle dance. The sensors were overridden in later models, but the filter remained and issues remained.

          I have four of them. One suffers from circle dance until I open up the wheels to clean it, as an update is not available any longer (I was delayed in trying to get it, courtesy of redeploying home), another is spotty at best, due to shitty batteries that were replaced by shitty batteries that are generic (the brand batteries being twice the price) and it still doesn't pick up much refuse, such as straw particles from a straw broom that swept a Persian carpet.

          The military/police models are good. I've used the military models (OK, my men used them and swore their lives being continued, courtesy of their robots), but the home model is shit. Well, has been shit.

          Nothing here has convinced me otherwise.

          Just another paid for advertisement.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    /me suddenly remembers...

    that there's a Roomba hiding under one of the kitchen cupboards.

    Hasn't been used for years, mind...

  4. Baron Ebaneezer Wanktrollop III


    It can't do stairs in which case you may as well buy a Dalek.

  5. Troy Peterson

    My Roomba 650 recently gave up... Though I cleaned it regularly it got so much hair in the brushes that the plastic housing that the brush bushings sit in actually broke... I managed to repair it once, but it's dislodged again and is done for good...

    The 880 has been out for a couple of months in the US... so I asked customer support when it would be here in the UK and I was told that it's coming in May... so it's back to the old fashioned hoover until then.. ugh...

    I had an old (original) Roomba for many years, then the 650... Even though the 650 only lasted 3 years I still loved it so I'll be buying the 880 when it's available.

    1. Number6

      I don't know how available they are in the UK ( has them, so probably) but the Neato robot vacs score better than the Roombas in most reviews. They've got a laser scanner that maps their surroundings and run back and forth in an efficient pattern compared to the random walk of other robot vacs.

  6. TRT Silver badge

    Wasn't there a recent detective thing where they couldn't work out how someone had been poisoned because the Roomba had swept away the broken wine glass that the poison had been put in?

    1. Norman Hartnell

      Jonathan Creek? And wasn't it someone's ashes?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        It could have been... I was only quarter watching it. Got the two things mixed up.

        1. Neoc

          NCIS season 3 (?), roomba policed the brass.

    2. Bonce

      Are you thinking of Breaking Bad? Jessie had a Roomba which "appeared to have" swept up the cigarette containing ricin.

  7. Steve 13


    I'd buy one, but not at the massive premium that is charged.

    It'd be cheaper to hire a cleaner to come in and vacuum for me.

  8. Chris Gray 1


    My Roomba doesn't get used anywhere near enough. Once every month or two isn't really enough, and I have 3 separate areas that I restrict it to with the "invisible walls". I don't run it in the area I'm in now unless I supervise, since there are too many loose wires around.

    What I really need is something that can dust. Can't afford a French maid.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd

      Re: Can't afford a French Maid.

      Have you thought of a furniture Polish Maid!

      I'm here all week.

  9. Alistair Dabbs

    Want one...

    .... and, at last, I have just the floor for it.

  10. Trokair 1

    Worth the price

    I've had one for years an run it every day. Worth every bit.

  11. Kurt 5

    Any better?

    I've tried Roombas a couple of times over the last several years. All hardwood and tile. Unfortunately I have the Roomba Kryptonite. 2 Maine Coon cats (large, long haired) and a german shep. The first roomba I had years ago was carried to me by the previous german shep. Once I convinced her to leave it alone the hair did it in -- it spent more time beeping and waiting for me to clean it than it did cleaning. Fast forward a few years. Given another "new model" Roomba as a gift. It also bogged down in the hair. One of the cats decided to jump on it -- 22lbs of cat launching from 5 foot dresser onto defenseless roomba resulted in a broken roomba (though it was just beeping to be cleaned).

    The new roomba design doesn't look like it'll fit into the household any better than the previous ones. *sigh*

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Any better?

      I'd love to get a roomba, but I'm not certain what the feline portion of the household will do to it, or to the human contingent if they don't like it. (It's bad enough having one angry cat leaving poo around the place, I don't need more...)

  12. Chairo

    I bought a "discovery" years ago that still works fine. I had to replace some FETs in the charging circuit once, but otherwise no big issue. Can't use it in the living room, however, as it always sucks in the carpet fringes. Also it likes swallowing the wiring around my PC. I wonder if the new brushless system works better.

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