THIS is the kind of sci-fi gadget that 1970s comic books predicted
.Walking down my spiral stairs on Sunday morning, I was greeted by a chorus of industry; the hum of my self-cleaning cat toilet looking after the night’s deposits, and the growl of the Vorwerk Robot Vacuum Cleaner on its maiden pre-scheduled voyage.
I’d set the VR100’s schedule the previous night via its LCD panel and left it charging in its docking station (a full battery equals an hour of cleaning). It fired up its vacuum cleaning motor, charting a path round the edges of the room. My living room is a substantial robotic challenge, but the VR100 started well, its built in laser room scanner and optical sensors allowing it to avoid banging into anything substantial. If the scanner fails, there are sensors built into the grey spring loaded bumper. There were some dodgem moments, but the VR100 managed to work itself free of chair legs and the like after multiple rotations, thanks to its all-wheel-drive and 360-degree turning skills. The suspension allows it to mount and clean even the thickest of shagpile. It slowed to a crawl over my Ikea carpet but managed to plough through it. In terms of floor coverage, it did almost the entire downstairs area but missed a few corners, symptomatic of its curvy design. Once finished, it returned like a homing pigeon to its charging base, under the suspicious eye of my bemused cats.
At £649, it’s the best attempt at robotic cleaning I’ve tried. If only it had some automated octopus tentacles for those pesky corners.
Vorwerk Robot Vacuum Cleaner Kobold VR100
£649 from www.vkdirect.co.uk