Anyway. I realised I hadn't introduced our newest family member to you ... so - drum roll please ... introducing my first ever real robot - Mr Bumpy!
Mr Bumpy is a Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner. He is *WONDERFUL*.
Hubby bought him as a pre-surgery gift for me, as I'm not allowed to do heavy cleaning like vacuuming. Besides, who wants to anyway?
Mr Bumpy trundles around the floor, bumping into things (hence his very clever name, LOL, which is also a reference to the main character in this show), whisking the edges of everything with his little white flickery brushes (photo below, lower left, with the yellow centre) and sucking up debris!
His path is very random, but he gets all areas covered in the end. He's about 35 cm across and 8 cm high, and can scoot under most furniture. He can untangle himself from electric cables too.
It takes Mr Bumpy about 20 minutes to do the living room. He comes with an 'invisible wall' unit which projects a beam which he won't cross - so you place it wherever you need to restrict the area he goes into, especially handy if there isn't a door in that section of the house.
This is the dust compartment, which is quite small. There's also a fine filter section. So there is a certain amount of regular maintenance to be done, emptying the spoils of Mr Bumpy's journeys, and cleaning the brushes and rollers.
When he gets tired (low on power), he goes automatically back to his dock station and recharges.
This model isn't the latest available in the States (Australia lagging behind as usual), which can be scheduled and have remote controls and so on, but we're very happy with our Mr Bumpy regardless. Being able to push one button ("Clean") and have him go off to work, is a delight still, even after several months.
One time he bumped into a table which caused a coaster to drop on top of him, and he trundled around happily for ages with the coaster in place - I think he was hoping for a cup of tea!
While we still need a regular vacuum cleaner for things like major messes (broken glass etc) and cleaning upholstery, Mr Bumpy does a great job for regular cleaning of all floors (carpet and tile), even along the skirting boards. He's quieter than a regular vacuum cleaner, even Miss Petal isn't scared of him. And we don't have to vacuum (practically ever) any more! Bliss!