It’s getting to be Christmas time and I wanted one of those vacuum cleaner independent robot type items. This is one of those where it runs around on the floor of your dwelling in a sort of random manner and its suction cleans up whatever it runs over that is amenable to suction cleanup. I’ll call it a Vacbot. I already have your human powered Dyson vacuum cleaner, I guess I could call that a Vachum (ha ha ha). I looked at the more popular Vacbots and just from the form viewpoint, as usual with Dyson, I liked yours the best. I understand that we’ve all (at least us pointy-headed intellectuals) been driven to believe that form follows function…. But I’ve never really bought that.
I’ve found when I look at items it really matters to me how they are shaped, how their colors interact with each other, and what is the symmetry of their presentation of their various parts. I understand that this is such a backwards method of design. The chorus is singing…”If it works well, you will come to find it attractive and it will become your favorite.”
I just don’t know. I find that if it looks good and it can do its work in a smooth and symmetrical manner, that’s what draws me in. I have tried to do this with my Pistonrobot project. I wanted the Pistonrobot to have the form, symmetry, manner of action, and basic physical behavior patterns that we see with the human form. The other walking robots just look so clunky. Ahhh yes the chorus replies, “while those actually real robots may have some clumsiness, at least they have that wonderful set of properties that they actually exist and they at least can actually walk.” “Pistonrobot is just drawings.” I think I will stand my ground. I feel that let people watch even just a little bit of what the Pistonrobot looks like when it is moving and walking, they’ll say every time, “Hey, I want that robot.” And, by the way, the limbs and articulations of Pistonrobot are designed so that Pistonrobot can mimic even the end of range type motions of humans. Pistonrobots can lean, stand on one foot, do a deep knee bend, squat, arise from sitting.
Back to the Vacbot. I do like the Dyson Vacbot, but the reviews are so consistent…Great Looks, Great Work Ethic, Great Design, but…. They always mention, the Dyson Vacbot can only hold the most minimum of a dirt-dust-hair-particle load before it needs to have its dumpster bin dumped.
I do have cats and wow cats are so efficient at converting cat food into cat hair. Whew. The ol’ Dyson Vacbot would be in a hopeless mess running around keeping up with a house with two long hair cats. Dang.
My reply is….”But the Dyson Vacbot looks so good…” “It’s the one I want.”
So I thought I’d try Dear Dyson as a note and see what happens.
The issue is never that the Dyson Vacbot isn’t liked or isn’t good at its designed function, it just fills up too soon. I thought, “Ok, this is not that hard to fix.” “We need more size, let’s get some more size.”
Take a look at the Dyson Vacbot and wonder, “So, why is it so small, anyway?”
It needs to be small so that its motors could create a reasonable suction using batteries that are small enough to be reasonable, and so that it could be small enough to be unobtrusive and slip around under coffee tables and chairs and stuff. It really isn’t a feasible solution to upsize the Vacbot itself.
But, let’s look at that charging station for the Vacbot. We’ll ask a few questions about the charging station. Question: “So, where does the charging station have to be placed?” Well, it can be put just about anywhere in the dwelling, as long as the Vacbot can get to it to recharge itself. Question: “So, there’s these size and height restrictions on the Vacbot, but what about the charging station? Hmmmm” Well, at present the charging station is just a place where the Vacbot can “park” itself in a manner that is safe and has a high probability that there will be enough electrical power transfer capability to recharge the Vacbot and enough communication capability so that the Vacbot can “talk” to the charging station to download the Vacbot’s reports and for the Vacbot to get whatever orders the charging station might have for the Vacbot. Other than that, it’s just a charging station, there aren’t any a priori restrictions on the size of the charging station.
Ok, I’m thinking, “So who would care if the charging station included a 13-gallon vacuum tank?” Hmmmm? Who would care. I don’t think anyone would care. Let’s add one more function to the charging station. We’ll give the charging station a tube that the charging station can insert into the Vacbot (editor’s note: no snarky remarks from the peanut gallery at this image). That is to say, the Vacbot will now have 2 reasons to return to the charging station. Reason one: to recharge the Vacbot’s batteries. But, now we have Reason two: If the Vacbot determines that its on-board storage container is too full, then the Vacbot motors back to the charging station and the charging station will put its charging station tube into the Vacbot and suction out the Vacbot’s on-board storage container. Then the Vacbot motors away for more cleaning work. TaDa.
There’s one other issue here on this Vacbot issue, and I think I’ll get to it by telling a story first. This is one of those sort-of “Men are from Mars….Women are from Venus” types of stories.
The newer computers will support dual monitors, even dual high quality image display monitors. I’ve always been a great fan of this. In the design world, it is so nice to have on the main screen a large and pretty version of the object you are working on, and on the other screen the sub-displays of all the issues that are important in making the designed part reasonable and feasible.
But I have found a group of people where the dual monitor option just doesn’t suit them. It seems they want to bring up on the main screen whatever it is they’re working on, and just stay there and get their work done.
I am not making any judgments here, it’s just two different ways to work through the problems at hand.
Walking away from the two monitors for a moment, we need to discuss images, cameras, and people’s collections of all their photos. As we know in this digital world, so frequently almost all the images that a person or family may have will exist as digital information or digital images. There’s nothing wrong with this, except, for the most part, in our compressed lifestyle world, who has time to look at their images, anyway? For the most part, no one has that kind of time.
I discovered that Windows will allow one to create an image collection to be the images of their background screen. Hmmmmm
I took every digital image we have, put them on the hard drive, and made that entire collection as the designated folder for the images to be the background. And that was so cool, because as you’re working along, bang, up comes the beach trip, or your long-lost family member that you haven’t seen in forever, or the babies opening their 1yrold birthday party presents. This, of course, happens basically behind whatever it is that you are working on at the computer.
But here’s another feature of Windows that I never knew anything about. It turns out, if there’s two monitors, (at least with Win10), the Windows program will pull one image from the designated background image folder to be the background image displayed on one monitor, and Win10 picks a different image to be the background image on the other monitor. Ha
Is that cool, or what?
I never could get any clear input on whether she wanted two monitors or not. I figured, “What the heck?” I got a second Ergotron monitor arm, and a second DVI monitor, and the card that lets the computer drive two DVI monitors at the same time, and I installed all this on her computer Christmas Eve as her Christmas present.
After this install, Win10 proceeded to put out two separate background images from her collection, one image on the main screen, and another image on that second monitor. As I watched my wife working on her computer, I noticed, she never puts any of the programming on that second screen. I asked her about that.
She replied, “That screen is my family and all my memories of places we’ve been and stuff we’ve done.” “I work along on this screen, and I do time travelling via that other screen.”
Who’d of thunk it?
I’m such a scientist, as I watched (she has the image change about every 60 seconds), I could not help but wonder…..
“So, I put about 700 images in that ‘background images’ folder.” “Does Microsoft really do some processing to be sure when I choose ‘random image’ display, that the program will really keep up with which images have been displayed, when they were displayed, and making sure all images get displayed?” Hmmmmmm???
Because, for most of us normal humans, after about 40 images, I am not sure anyone would be able to really know that the order of display was random, that all images got displayed, and that all images had about the same amount of display time.
And here’s my answer with my Win10 and my 700 images….. I have no idea at all if they are all given an equal shot at being the background. I just don’t know. I thought maybe I could get on her computer and do some tweaking and stuff to answer the question of just what is Win10 doing to run this background image stuff. But it’s her computer, and she’s time travelling with her babies into memories in the past and she made it pretty clear…..
“I am to leave her computer alone.”
Ok, now, everybody gets 20 seconds to figure out how this gets back to Vacbots.
…..17-18-19-20… Times up.
I had the thought about a Vacbot… “So how does it ‘know’ where it cleaned, what wasn’t cleaned, what is the area its cleaning, and what ‘plan’ does it actually have to do a thorough job?” “How does it do this?”
I don’t know, my bet is that if one divided the house plan up into 1 square in areas, and then plotted how many seconds of suctioning each square inch of floor got from the Vacbot, then I think some interesting data would come out.
Data 01: The square inches near the charging station would get a lot of suctioning.
Data 02: The further a square inch of floor was located away from the charging station, the less total seconds of suctioning that would be given to that square inch.
Data 03: The distribution of suctioning time given to square inches of floorspace would not be randomly distributed at all.
I think it’s the Win10 background images issue all over again.
It’s easy to fix however. Dyson just needs to supply 4 transceivers that could talk to the Vacbot and to the charging station. These four transceivers would be plugged into wall sockets, so they always had power. They would be located as much as would be reasonable, in the four corners of the floorplan located the longest distance away from the charging station. By communicating with these transceivers, the Vacbot could allow the transceivers to measure as a function of time, what was the distance from the Vacbot to each transceiver, and the transceivers would send this information in real time to the charging station. Then a processing algorithm in charging station would compute as a function of time, exactly where was or where is the Vacbot. This would allow the charging station to prepare a listing of how many seconds of suctioning were given out by the Vacbot to all the square inches of floor space that the Vacbot had travelled across. Finally, the algorithm would establish a knowledge base of square inches of floor space that had lower numbers of seconds of suction time, and the charging station would communicate in real time with the Vacbot that it needs to get over to those lonely abandoned mistreated and unloved non-suctioned areas. The charging station would have a USB socket on it and one could plug a USB hard drive to this socket, press a button on the charging station and the charging station would download its most recent collection of data about what the algorithm “believes” to be the floor plan of the dwelling, and how many seconds of suction had been devoted to each of the square inches of the floorplan. This USB drive could then be removed from the charging station and plugged into the family computer. A Dyson program on the family computer would notice this drive and download from it all the most recent Vacbot data. One could then open this Dyson program and “look around” at what’s up with the Vacbot to be sure all is cool, and all those little square inches are getting their proper Dyson attention.
Suction equality – that’s what we have here.
Dear Dyson – Here’s my Christmas request. 😊 pg