Work from home has many meanings now. And the one aspect that is overlooked is the fact that many of us are working from home along with working for the home. For many, the daily chores or washing dishes and clothes along with keeping the house clean is more stressful than their work itself. This is why we could see a surge in demand for gadgets that make life easier when it comes to household chores.
The Milagrow iMap 9 is a self-navigating robot that can clean your house as you work from home. Like with earlier versions of Milagrow cleaning robots, this one too can mop the floor as it moves around, thanks to some very Indian innovation that is practical and functional. However, what is really new here is the live mapping technology that makes the robot smart enough to realise where it is and what it needs to do to ensure maximum coverage of the floors.
The Milagrow iMap 9 looks like any other cleaning robot — yeah, we have seen a few by now — but has a distinct bump on top, which is the Laser Distance Sensor (LDS) Lidar that helps it map the terrain with a 360-degree view. There are brushes on both sides that sweep in dust for the vacuum under to take inside. There is a curled brush near the vacuum too, which works better on carpets and rugs.
On top of the robot are two buttons, one for power and the other for home. There is a charging dock which you can place somewhere easy to seek and find for the robot. The Milagrow iMap 9 can be controlled using the TuyaSmart app which is available for Android and iOS. Set up is relatively easy and soon after you get quick and easy to understand controls for the robot. Soon after it is set up, the robot is able to create a map of the house and on the app, you can see where all it has been on. The map also locates the charging dock and the robot.
One good feature is the ability to set the area to be cleaned using the app. However, the robot takes its time getting there, cleaning whatever it sees on the way. You can also set no-go zones via the app. The app also, lets you make the robot clean a specific spot — very helpful if you have dropped some mixture in the living room, trust me.
On a full charge, the robot can run for about 60 minutes. But for a 1200sqft house like mine, it needs at least three runs of an hour each. But the robot remembers where it has been to before and goes to new areas on the next sorties.
The mopping aspect is the same as on older Milagrow robots — an appendage at the bottom with a small tank and microfibre clothe, which gives a wet wipe as the robot moves along. I used this only sparingly and not with every run. The good thing is that you can add disinfectant liquid in the tank to give you peace of mind in the present times as the robot goes about mopping the floor.
However, you have to keep the floors obstacle-free.
The robot can find its way around the sofa and chairs but an abandoned pyjama on the floor is a real threat. It did get entangled in the string of the pyjama once and then it found itself in a spot with a cable. These are occasions you will need to help out the robot. So before you let it clean, it is better to checkout for what is on the floor.
Another issue I found was with bathroom rugs. The robot carries a bit of stuff under its belly waiting to be sucked in and still stuck on the brushes. So when it reaches a rough surface — for me a plastic rug in front of the bathroom door — a lot of it gets stuck there. Also, I could see some refuse near the charging dock. One good way to prevent this is to go to the app settings and select strong fan strength to ensure everything goes inside as soon as it is picked up.
With the pandemic playing on our minds and distorting our schedules, the Milagrow iMap 9 is a gadget that can take away some of the workload for a lot of us. A bit pricey because of the Lidar, the iMap 9 can be a good help when you are thinking of a life without domestic help. There are cheaper options of cleaning robots, some from Milagrow too, but they might not be as smart with a 360-degree of your house.