The Robot Vacuum Cleaner: Useless Technology Or Tendency To RiseUntil a little over a decade ago people could only fantasize about good fairies magically cleaning their houses without them having to lift a finger.

With the appearance of first robotic vacuum cleaners towards the end of the 20th century, people's fantasies became reality. There are many models of robotic vacuum cleaners today that are being upgraded and improved at an incredible speed. Traditional vacuum cleaners are still more in demand for several reasons that we will discuss here, but with technology advancing so quickly, it seems robotic vacuum cleaners are the future.

How do they work?

These modern devices are round and flat in shape, like discs, and not very big nor heavy. They consist of cleaning brushes, dustbin, sensors (for detecting obstacles and scanning the cleaning area), remote control, recharging area, programming area and some other parts, depending on the model.

Robotic vacuum cleaners are small enough to go under couches so they can reach almost every part of the room. They are operated via remote control or they can be programmed to work when the owner is away. Many models have sensors that map the whole house and then the device makes the most optimal plan how to clean it. If the cleaner needs to recharge before it finishes cleaning, it will go to its docking place to recharge and come back to the exact spot where it left off.

Some models of robotic cleaners can even be operated via computers, so you can program them from anywhere with Internet connection.

A review on Gadgetronica nicely explains how these little housework helpers operate.

What are the negative aspects?

While most people agree that the positive aspects of having robotic vacuum cleaners outnumber the negative, there are still some people who claim that nothing beats traditional devices. They say that it is frustrating having a cleaner that:

• Cannot reach corners of the room due to its round shape, so the corners need to be cleaned manually

• Often gets stuck on cables, wires, socks, under couches and then just goes around in circles without being able to continue work

• Is very loud

• Cannot climb and clean stairs

• Sometime leaves debris behind and sometimes knocks over furniture

• Has too small a bin that often needs to be emptied

Still, the companies producing robotic cleaners are carefully listening to all their users' complaints and they are intent on fixing as many problems as possible with the next generation model.

Very soon more and more people will start appreciating devices that save a lot of time in the busy lives of 21st century individuals.

Written by property blogger John Parker, graduated journalist with a special interest in interior design, home improvements and modern living. John frequently writes for on- and offline publications in the UK, US and South Africa.