Hector the Collector

I bought a robot vacuum cleaner last week. It isn’t something I had planned to do, I didn’t even know they existed, not reliable ones anyway. The purchase was on the recommendation of a very good friend, who said she hadn’t had such fun watching a domestic appliance since her mother bought her first front-loading washing machine and they all sat in front of it and watched their clothes going round. The robot isn’t what Isaac Asimov or Sony would call a robot (though Sony’s is very impressive). It roughly resembles, in size and shape, a curling stone. But flatter. Think Babybel cheeses. But much bigger. And not red and waxy. The odd thing about Hector (yes, okay) is the way he/it has been accepted as if it is a real pet, rather than just a domestic appliance. It is easy to see why. It trundles around, doing its stuff, quietly avoiding things. When it has finished a room, or when its battery runs low, it heads for its docking station and goes to sleep. Scary. Oh – and it does sweep the floor extremely well. Even if it stops sweeping we might keep it.

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