Feeds
30%

iRobot Roomba 560 robot vacuum cleaner

Clean quietly... or there will be... trouble

New hybrid storage solutions

The Roomba will do a few normal rooms completely without running flat, but if you've set up lighthouses around a whole floor it may need to recharge before finishing. In theory, you can plug the power brick into a docking station, which the Roomba will automatically head back to for a charge.

Our Roomba found the dock easily enough and snuggled up to it happily, but couldn't get any nourishment once it had done so. If the dock had been working, we'd have been able to set the 560 to clean at scheduled times, perhaps at night, returning to recharge itself afterwards - potentially offering completely autonomous cleaning of one entire floor of a house, with a few "lighthouses" in play. You'd still have to empty the rather small dust tray pretty often, however.

iRobot Roomba 560 robot vacuum cleaner

Clean quietly... or there will be... trouble

The Roomba is cleverly programmed, and it's a treat to watch it skimming along next to a skirting board, its little side brush whirling to scoop all the crud from the edge of the room. It does a lot better than you'd think at getting into corners, too.

All in all, it's a nice piece of engineering, though in many ways the simplicity of the controls is rather a disappointment. For a gadget this expensive, you're almost expecting to be offered a Wi-Fi web interface or an icon moving around on a map of your house or something.

You'd be totally out of luck with that last one, as the Roomba doesn't know where it is. It detects walls and so on at short range, and the little IR beacons on the virtual-barrier/lighthouse units and the power dock from across a room, but otherwise it's blind.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.