Electrolux Trilobite

Nobody likes hoovering. The British government may suggest that we should do it for half an hour a day to lose some weight but no body really wants to be bothered with pushing a noisy device on a long stick around the living room. Of course with our dirty lives (not that kind of dirty) it's a necessary evil that has to be done. Electrolux has other ideas.

That idea revolves around an automated robotic hoover that will do your vacuuming for you without you even lifting a finger. The ultimate lifestyle accessory, the Trilobite, works via acoustic radar to work out the perimeter of the room you plan to hoover. Once it's worked it out, it then calculates the optimum time to cover the room.

As it moves around the room the radar detects any obstacles and conveniently works its way around them. When the batteries start to run low the Trilobite will proceed back to its charging station and starts to recharge. Electrolux states that the maximum speed of the unit is 0.4 metres per second and therefore not fast enough to cause you serious damage if you get in the way.

The exciting thing about the unit however is that you can program the onboard timer to start hoovering when you're not at home so you come back to a clean house every day and potential burglars may think there's someone at home and think twice.

In tests the vacuum cleaner proved well on open surfaces picking up all the rubbish that we could throw at it that you would expect a vacuum cleaner to pick up (we tried the wife, but that failed (This is marriage? - Sub-Ed). Of course the unit isn't without its drawbacks, mainly that the unit, afraid to touch or scratch any of your skirting boards or furniture doesn't seem to want to go near the very edges of the room, meaning that the extra fussy cleaners among us will have to go around the edges again (a second time) with a dust buster or the like getting the dirt out of the crack between the carpet and the skirting board.

Additionally while the unit is bagless, due to the small size the unit- designed that way to zip under chairs and other bits of furniture- the container for collecting the dirt isn't very big and therefore needed refilling frequently.

Verdict

At £1000 this unit really is only for the super rich gadget obsessive- even Dysons didn't cost that much when newly launched. However if you are rich enough to be able to afford a £1000 vacuum cleaner then surely you are likely to have a cleaner to do your hoovering anyway, which as you might expect rather defeats the object of this automated unit. While men will praise the idea of another half an hour saved, in practice this won't save you any time at all. It goes to show unfortunately that there is no such thing as a free lunch.