Housework has never been my friend – a necessary and dull evil best avoided is closer to how I feel about it. So it’s with some surprise that I’m going to admit to falling head over heels for a vacuum cleaner.
Designed by Electrolux, the Trilobite is a curvy little red number, 35cm in diameter and about the size of a flattened bowling ball. Squatting 13cm off the floor, it looks something like the prehistoric bug it’s named after with a hint of the loveable appeal of a Star Wars droid.
Aesthetics aside, what really did it for me was the Trilobite’s ability to vacuum large swathes of my flat, unsupervised and uncomplaining, while I sat back with a cup of tea in front of the TV.
Billed by Electrolux as the ‘first robotic vacuum cleaner’, the Trilobite is fully automated. It navigates by acoustic radar which maps the perimeter of the room and detects obstacles like furniture. Its ankle height and compact diameter allows it to clean under beds and other low furniture.
In practice, it’s simple to use. Turn it on and it heads off around the room, navigating corners and furniture and memorising where its re-charger is located. A 3m by 4m room takes it about 20 minutes to complete and when it’s done it backs itself on to its charger ready for the next room. Quieter than many vacuums, close the door and it won’t disturb your television viewing at all.
Its round, low shape also means it’s easy to lift and is relatively light and less cumbersome than many of its bigger rivals.
The Trilobite’s shape also meets the functional requirements – it’s round so it is able to rotate out of corners and large enough to enable it to deliver a ‘powerful’ suction, says Electrolux world product manager Martin Hedstrom.
Hedstrom also affirms that the Trilobite has been designed in part to provide an individual experience. ‘It’s personalised, not just a robo-vac, not just a technical gadget,’ he says.
Those who do white glove inspections after any cleaning activity will find the Trilobite isn’t great on corners because its curvy frame keeps it a couple of centimetres from the edge of the room.
But, according to Hedstrom, if you let the Trilobite vacuum at least twice a week the dust won’t build up, in the corners or anywhere else. And he is at pains to stress that, at this stage, the Trilobite is an addition to your vacuum ‘collection’ rather than a replacement. And for those of you, like me, for whom corners are mere details and who welcome the demise of housework in all its forms, the Trilobite is the answer to a long-held prayer. Roll on the robotic age.
The Trilobite is available from 16 May and retails at £999
3D design is by Inex Ljunggren, colour and graphic design is by Elisabeth Piper-Makitalo