You've seen them in ads, those computerized light-duty vacuums that use complicated algorithms to scoot under and around obstacles like chair legs, reclining pets and toddlers. They're actually pretty nifty. They'll do their cha-cha-cha whether you're in the room or not -- or even at home. Some models operate on timers and dock themselves to recharge. If you seldom get under your couch to clean, one nice feature of a robotic vacuum is that it can roll under a large furniture piece with ease (if it has the height clearance to do so).
Robotic vacuums are also diligent. They don't stop for phone calls. They don't take coffee breaks. And even if it takes an hour or more for one to clean a medium sized room, it's not like you're paying overtime.
It isn't all space age technology and less work for the beleaguered human, though. According to Consumer Reports, robotic vacuum cleaners typically fare poorly when it comes to getting into corners or along baseboards. They're also an expensive option for light duty vacuuming. If you don't mind doing a little rearranging to make it harder for your robot helper to get hung up on electrical cords, area rugs and floor vents, robotic vacuums can get into spots you'd otherwise skip. They can also give well-trafficked areas a daily treatment and remove surface dirt before it has a chance to sink deep into carpet fibers.