Category Archives: News

iRobot Roomba 780 Available from Amazon

iRobot Roomba 780 Media Photo

After almost a year of being on the market, iRobot’s flagship robot vacuum, the iRobot Roomba 780 is going to be available from mega retail site Currently Amazon is selling the 780 at a discounted price, over $100 cheaper than you can get it from iRobot themselves, and it is available with free shipping, of course. The 700 Series Roombas went on sale in May of 2011. For a long time, the Roomba 760 has been available from Amazon, but not the 780 or the 770. As of this writing, the 770 is still not available.

About the Roomba 780

As noted on the Amazon product page, the Roomba 780 features a new cleaning head, which does a better job of picking up debris like dirt, dust, hair, and pet dander. The vacuum comes with HEPA filters, which capture smaller dust and pollen particles and so makes the Roomba friendly to people who suffer from allergies. The 780 comes with on-board scheduling, a remote control, and new power management so that the robot has a longer battery life. The great thing about onboard scheduling, is that you program the robot to clean the house when you’re gone. Programming the Roomba is done using the new touchpad control which is built into the top surface of the robot, which is actually quite slick.

What comes in the box: the robot itself, 1 battery, 2 AeroVac Series 2 HEPA filters, 1 bristle brush, 1 side brush, 1 beater brush. a self-charging home base for the robot, power supply, IR remote control, 2 brush cleaning tools, an extra set of the brushes (bristle, side, and beater), an extra set of the AeroVac HEPA filters, and 2 virtual wall Lighthouse modules. The Lighthouse modules require 2 C batteries, which are not included in the box.

According to iRobot, the Roomba 780 removes up to 98% of the dirt, pet hair, and dust in your room. Roombas navigate using what is now called iAdapt technology, which is the traditional Roomba way of cleaning a room by crossing a room in random directions, doing wall-following behavior, and also spiraling. If you watch a Roomba, it really will get every single spot on a floor before it’s done. The engineers at iRobot have made sure of that. The vacuum will also get places that may be hard to reach with a traditional vacuum, be it upright or tank style. Finally, Roombas have dirt detect technology, which makes it so that the robot will find the dirty areas of your floor and spend extra time cleaning them up.

The included Lighthouses keep the robot in one room until the Roomba has finished cleaning it, at which point they will let the vacuum procced to the next room. It’s a clever way to get your whole house clean with as little intervention as possible.

We’ve tested the Roomba 780 against older Roombas, the Neato XV Series robots, and even Mint Robot cleaners, and we really think that the 780 is the number one best robot out there for anybody with carpeted floors. Amazon 780 Product Page Link

Robot Hot Rod: Souping up my Mint

I was in the store the other day and happened to be looking around in the cleaning section when one of these mop heads caught my eye. Seeing that it was “microfiber” like the other regular cleaning cloths for the Mint robot, I wondered if it would make for an interesting experiment. Besides this, I thought it would be kind of funny. Seeing as how this was obviously a Swiffer competitor, I figured it would probably be about the same size. At worst, it would be really wild looking. At best, it would be a great new cleaning sensation.

Microfiber cloth mop head on a Mint robot

As you can see, it was basically the exact right size. There were two modifications that needed to be made. First off, since the mop cover was built to put on a mop head that folded, it wouldn’t go on the Mint robot without having slits cut in the top parts. Second, the green part was simply too thick. The robot couldn’t get enough traction to push it around, because it was at a funny angle. So I ended up cutting out half of the green fingers. This reduced the volume enough that the Mint could run around the room.

Here it is trying to mate with our area rug.

Just for the sake of the experiment, I ran the Mint in two different rooms, just like I would any other day with a Swiffer cloth or one of the microfiber cloths that come with the robot. On the plus side, the robot sweeper was still able to see things, and also was able to tell that it had run into something when it bumped a piece of furniture. On the minus side, its cliff detection stopped working altogether, and it threw itself off a (luckily short) landing. So try this at your own risk!

Mont Robot with Microfiber Mop Head Cover

I think this answers the question: “What would you get if you crossed a Mint with Animal from the Muppets?” Unfortunately, the mop head didn’t really seem to clean the floor very well. It mostly seemed like it pushed things around, whereas the Swiffer cloths and the microfiber cloths that come with the Mint definitely do pick up a lot of dirt.

Long Exposure Robotic Vacuum Art

iRobot Roomba Long Exposure

(Updated January 30, 2012: Added the Dirt Devil.) I finally got the time, equipment, and software together to make long exposure photos of the different floor cleaning robots to look at the differences between the three. So, above is a long exposure of an iRobot Roomba cleaning up the “hall” in my house. It’s about eight feet long and maybe 5 feet wide. There is a furnace return in the upper left corner that the Roomba avoids, thinking it’s a cliff.

Neato Robotics XV-11 long exposure

Here you can see the orderly progression of how a Neato Robotics XV-11 cleans an area this small. It does the perimeter, and then precisely vacuums the area inside. You can’t tell from the photo, but the line in the middle is actually from two paths. One going from left to right, and the other from right to left.

Mint Cleaner Long Exposure

This is my favorite of the bunch. The Evolution Mint Cleaner goes back and forth, and then does the perimeter, but much more meticulously than the Neato robot. So it leaves quite a bumpy trail around the room.

Dirt Devil RoomMate Light Trails
Dirt Devil RoomMate

The Dirt Devil RoomMate runs around a room pretty much like a Roomba does, with alternating behaviors. It does random bouncing around, spirals, and wall following. In a small area like this, it spends a lot more time doing wall following than anything else. Like all the rest of the robots, it’s not a big fan of the furnace return.

Neato Robotics XV-11 long exposure

Here’s a photo with the lights on, following a Neato XV-11 through the room again. It took a different way to do it this time, going up and down instead of back and forth.

Did I mention that I made these photos with an Olloclip fisheye lens? I don’t usually talk about things other than robots on this blog, but this thing is really cool. It’s a three-in-one add-on lens for the iPhone 4. It has a fish-eye lens, a wide angle lens, and a crazy macro lens. Here are some other photos I’ve taken recently.

Ludisia discolor Jewel Orchid Macro Shot
Ludisia discolor 'ambrosia' Jewel Orchid Macro Shot

Daylily Olloclip Macro Shot

Water Lily Flower Olloclip Macro Shot