After spending several days moving back my furniture and cleaning up my apartment, I was able to place my new robot vacuum and its charger. I’ve had it for weeks but I didn’t want to use it until after my apartment was painted and everything was moved back into place.

It’s not the fanciest robot vacuum out there (not a Roomba) but it does have lidar, which enables the vacuum to “see” the rooms it is working in and also to map out the entire floor space. This allows it to clean in straight lines, rather than earlier robot vacuums which used an algorithm that looked mostly like random movements to cover all the rooms. The image above is a somewhat current map of my apartment, seen through the laser “eye” of the vacuum.

Another great thing about having a lidar robot vacuum is that you can then use an app to partition your living space into rooms. The boundaries are user-defined, you just draw them on the map on the app. In this way, you can tell the vacuum to clean one room. You can also draw virtual boundaries on the app, so the vacuum knows not to try to clean there. In the above map, the dark red areas are closets that the vacuum shouldn’t and doesn’t need to clean, so I don’t want it try to.

If ten year-old me could see this robot vacuum, the integration of it with the app on a smartphone, and what it can do (see with lasers, avoid obstacles, charge itself), my little child brain would hardly be able to believe it wasn’t some sorta science fiction. As terrible as the world might be right now, at least we have robot vacuums now.

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