The Robots are Coming - a scary book title that sums up some people's negative attitude to the age of automation.
They'll take everyone's job and rule the world like Skynet!
Mmm - robots do get a bad press at times, don't they? You could almost feel sorry for them - but not quite.
After all they don't have human attributes - or do they?
Hollywood would have you think so - think R2D2 with its chirpy personality.
Then there's the dark side - from the sinister Hal to the menacing replicants in Blade Runner. For sure, directors know a red-eyed Arnie leaves a more lasting impression on the human psyche than a witless C-3PO.
But it's all only clever make-believe that earns Tinseltown serious money. Long live La-La Land!
They would have you believe you're either for 'em or agin 'em. But there's a middle way - there nearly always is.
Back in the real world we find that robots, controlled by humans, have been doing useful work around the world for some time.
They excel in doing specific task in areas such as.....
The bots are also pretty good at the more humdrum tasks as well.
People can avoid dirty and dangerous routine jobs by using bots. For example, ducts in large buildings need regular cleaning. Operators can use crawling machines to clean them without risking their health.
On a more domestic note, the droids have arrived in the home - enter the RoboVac!
These busy little bots fuss around to save you some of the drudgery of cleaning floors. But don't throw out your brush or your conventional vac just yet! The makers don't claim these little bots can entirely replace them - for now! Although you'll need to do a little bit of manual cleaning, these helpful automatic cleaners do significantly reduce the frequency and effort needed for regular cleaning.
So if you want to buy a robot vacuum for hardwood floors - or any other floor covering for that matter - then one of the following five machines will answer.
The devices chosen meet our demand for high user ratings - thousands of happy buyers have already given a home to some of these little bots.
Price is important too and the makers haven't sacrificed performance and reliability to keep the prices low. One satisfied user said that after some bad experiences with £300 - £500 machines, they were very pleased to find "this little gem". We believe the prices are modest enough to make any of these machines affordable to most folks.
All round, these devices are a worthwhile addition to your cleaning tools and can save you time and effort in floor cleaning.
It boasts a 3 stage cleaning program with 4 cleaning modes. The Max Mode Suction gives extra cleaning power. The machine has a built-in air filtration system to remove stray dust particles. The vac has Anti-Collision & Anti-Drop Sensor Protection safety technology fitted to prevent damage.
It has a running time of around 100 minutes from the Li-ion battery.
Accessories include main & side brushes and a docking station for recharge and there is a 1-year warranty.
It weighs in at just over 7 pounds and measures about 14 inches across with a height of 3.3 inches.
The manufacturers state that the N79S is best used on hardwood and tiled floors. Low pile thin carpets are okay but dark or thick carpets will reduce the performance of the machine. If there are many thick rugs and carpets in your home, the makers do not recommend this device.
It has a timer that you can either adjust on the LCD screen or use the wireless remote. Set it to go to work when you do and forget about it.
This comes with a 1500mAh Lithium-ion battery built in, giving up to 90 minutes cleaning time. When the power runs down, your robo vac knows when it needs to return to its charger. The remote control requires 2 AAA batteries which are not supplied.
There are twin debris sweeping brushes which are removable. No need for a brush underneath as this has 24w suction. that removes pet hair effortlessly.
4 cleaning patterns are available - auto, spiral, edge and zig-zag. Integrated Hepa filters and washable main filters mean that your home will be dust free. The IR sensor will keep your bot from bumping into objects or falling down steps.
Whether you have tiles, linoleum, hardwood flooring or short carpeting, this bot can handle it. All you have to do is remember to empty the bag-less 0.3l dust bin now and then.
When the cleaning cycle is over or the battery runs low, the device returns to the docking station to recharge. The vac has auto detect anti fall cliff sensors that will divert the bot away from stairs or ledges.
It has 24W suction power and dual rotating brushes that resist clogging by pet hairs. The HEPA filter removes and bins fine particles which is excellent for allergies.
Run-time is up to 90 minutes from the Ni-Mh rechargeable battery.
The weight is around 6 lbs and it measures a little over 11 inches across with a low profile of only 3.1 inches.
The makers say the Pure Clean will clean hard carpets and hardwood, lino, tile & stone floors and is especially efficient in cleaning up cat and dog hair.
This model has been re-engineered with increased suction power and quieter operation.
It has BoostIQ 3-mode cleaning technology that kicks in when extra suction strength is needed. Combined dual and high performance filters. A remote control programs the machine. IR sensors detect obstacles and there is drop-sensing technology fitted to avoid falls.
The Lithium battery provides up to 100 minutes continual suction in the standard mode (hardwood floors). For carpets running time is around 60 minutes. The bot automatically returns to the charging base when the battery power dips.
Accessories include a cleaning tool, extra filters, side brushes and cable ties and there is a 1-year warranty.
Use on low-pile carpet, tile, laminate, and hardwood floors. Not suitable for high-pile carpet or very dark-colored floors.
This robovac has strong suction that combines with the side brushes to ensure no pet hair gets knotted up.
Easy to program by using the one touch control or the remote. Set the program to work while you are out. Your robovac will instinctively return to its station to self charge as the power in the lithium battery diminishes.
Clever sensors will prevent the machine bumping into objects or falling down stairs.
Weighing at only 4.5 lbs the vac measures just over 11 inches across and is 3 inches high letting the bot go under most furniture and beds.
The makers say that this bot is perfect for hard surfaces and short-pile carpets.