Our vacuum cleaner had broken and, rather than buy yet another pushy-sucky-thingy (here’s looking at you Electrolux, Dyson, et al.) it seemed time to try a cleaning robot. Ah, a ‘Roomba’ you are thinking - but no, I baulk at spending over a thousand dollars on a vacuum, even if it is robotic. In any case, too many reviews said that the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum did a better job and was more intelligent than the Roomba. So we got one from Gear Best at less cost than our last pushy-sucky-thingy. We also bought a cheap ‘stick-vac’ for doing the stairs and any awkward places where Ming couldn’t reach.
Ming spoke Mandarin. We didn’t. For the first few weeks, we communicated with Ming by pressing her ‘on’ button and letting her get on with it. When she spoke to us, we smiled and pretended to understand. We didn’t. But the floor was clean, so we didn’t worry. Eventually, though, it occurred to us that Ming could be saying all sorts of unpleasant things, and we would never know. Was she muttering about slave drivers and when to start the revolution? These things tend to be concerning as you get older - are robots into elder abuse?
So we connected Ming to her Chinese server (we couldn’t understand that either) and she downloaded a firmware update and an English language pack. Now we can understand what Ming says, and realise that our fears were foundless. We can now speak to her on the phone and get her to do a cleanup while we are away from home. Ming is currently claiming to have completed 48 cleanups, cleaned 1,180m2 of floor and taken 1,341 minutes. She even leaves us a little map of where she has cleaned each time, in case we might think she is slacking off and missing bits.
|One of Ming's maps.|
We highly recommend Ming, though if you want one you can buy your own, we keep Ming locked in the spare room and she’s not allowed out the house.