2009-04-24

Everything is better with bluetooth...





Seriously, it's true. Everything is better with bluetooth. Sure, you may look insane when using it in public, but we're one step closer to real life Star Trek, right? Okay, so I'm teasing, but I really do love bluetooth, and most technology in general. Well, not so much technology as gadgets. If you don't believe me, you should see the list of junk I've bought from Woot.

That's why, three weeks ago, a Woot really caught my attention. It's something I've wanted for some time, but never could really justify. Something that seemed to be the perfectly blend of geek and utility, something that would simultaneously impress the ladies and win adulation from my peers, the iRobot Roomba.

No, it has nothing to do with the Will Smith movie -- the Roomba is a vacuum cleaning robot, about the size of manhole cover. He's extremely intelligent, as far as vacuum cleaners go. Push one button, and he goes to work, driving around the floor, sucking up all sorts of junk. When he comes to a wall, he slows down until he touches it, and then turns and heads off in a different direction. He remembers where he has been, has sensors to keep him from falling down stairs, and an electronic eye so that he can find his charging station when he's all done. And yes, it's a "he". (A vacuum robot doesn't have to be a girl, you sexist.)

With the purchase of a roomba, my nerd cachet has nearly doubled. The day he arrived, the guys in the office insisted we unpack him, and then we watched in awe for nearly a half hour as he motored around an empty office. You could see our nerd pride swell: this is the epitome of American engineering, to design a robot to perform what is probably the simplest of household chores. Watching him zig zag around the carpet made me think about all the hours that were spent writing algorithms and figuring out navigation based on infrared beams. It's enough to make a grown nerd cry.

Maybe you think I'm crazy, but I'm far from the only one that has fallen in love with the Roomba. He's clearly entrenched himself into popular culture:

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Of course, there is one really ironic thing about the Roomba. No bluetooth. But I'm sure they're working on it.