For Many, Roomba Akin to Fido

Owners build bonds with their robots, treat 'em like pets
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2007 2:33 PM CDT
The tendency for some customers to develop a petlike fondness for the Roomba may imply a public readiness for robots in the home.   ((c) Eirik Newth)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – There may be no purring or wagging of tail, but for some people the soft whirring of their Roomba stirs feelings akin to those reserved for the family pet, reports AP. Georgia Tech researchers found that many who own home robots such as the automated vacuum cleaners name them or dress them up. But, says one researcher, "A lot more was going on."

The study suggests the general public may be amenable to more electronic companions around the house, and that the devices' flaws actually help build affection for them. An added bonus: they get men more excited about housework. "Forty years of women's liberation hasn't done much for the redistribution of vacuuming labor," said the researcher. "But robotics—that has promise." (Read more Roomba stories.)