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NYPD to use robotic dog — here are a few robots that can help around the house

7 household robot helpers worth checking out

In 2021, the NYPD announced that a robotic dog designed by Boston Dynamics would join its police force. However, the controversial plan was canceled after several politicians denounced it. Now, the “digidog” is again set to join the force. Critics say the robot is “creepy” and “dystopian,” while advocates say it will keep citizens safer.

Regardless of where you land on this debate, it’s natural for new technology to inspire curiosity. If the NYPD’s digidog has you considering a household robot, there are several worth checking out.

In this article: iRobot Roomba s9+, Gardena 15001 Robotic Lawn Mower and Sophinique X5 Window Cleaner Robot

What is the NYPD Digidog?

The NYPD’s robotic dogs will be used for hostage situations and inspecting scenes that are too dangerous for humans. Although the NYPD refers to them as digidogs, their official name is Spot. Boston Dynamics states, “Spot is an agile, mobile robot that navigates terrain with unprecedented mobility, allowing you to automate routine inspection tasks and data capture safely, accurately and frequently.”

Spot can be controlled remotely with a tablet application and can carry up to 30 pounds of equipment. The Boston Dynamics website indicates the robot can be used in various industries, including mining, entertainment and construction.

Why is it controversial?

The NYPD’s plan to use robotic dogs was scrutinized over potential privacy concerns. According to Albert Fox Cahn, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project’s executive director, “New York deserves real safety, not a knockoff robocop. Wasting public dollars to invade New Yorkers’ privacy is a dangerous police stunt.”

Other critics cite the project’s expected $750,000 cost as a cause for concern. Per Ileana Mendez-Penate, program director of Communities United for Police Reform, “the NYPD is buying robot dogs and other fancy tech while New Yorkers can’t access food stamps because city agencies are short-staffed, and New Yorkers are getting evicted because they can’t access their right to counsel.”

Despite the criticism, Mayor Eric Adams said, “A few loud people were opposed to it, and we took a step back. That is not how I operate. I operate on looking at what’s best for the city.”

How do these robot dogs compare to household robots?

Spot is an advanced robot with optional accessories that let it detect radiation, record 360-degree footage or capture thermal images. While a robot vacuum isn’t quite as sophisticated, the devices have a few similarities. For example, Spot can autonomously carry out repetitive tasks, similar to how a robotic vacuum cleans your home after mapping out your home’s floor plan.

Spot can be controlled via a tablet when it isn't operating autonomously. Similarly, you can usually control robot mops, lawnmowers and vacuums with a smartphone application.

What to consider when buying a household robot

  • Versatility: If you’re considering a cleaning robot, you can save time and money using one with multiple cleaning functions. For example, some household robots switch between mopping and vacuuming.
  • Convenience: Consider what would save you the most time. If you don’t have large windows, a robotic window cleaner isn’t likely to make your life easier. On the other hand, those with large lawns could benefit from a robotic lawnmower.
  • Capability: Some household robots are more intelligent than others. Those equipped with obstacle-detection sensors are less likely to be damaged by falls or sucking up hard items. Those that map your home’s floors are generally the most effective.
  • Power: Robot vacuums, mops and lawnmowers tend to have less power than their manual counterparts. Nonetheless, some are surprisingly effective.

Best household robots

iRobot Roomba s9+

This can vacuum up to 1,500 square feet on a single charge. It empties its dustbin automatically and works with Alexa voice commands. It builds a map of your home, letting it efficiently clean every room. Many reviewers were impressed with how well it sucks up pet hair.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Gardena 15001 Robotic Lawn Mower

This is surprisingly quiet and has a weatherproof shell, so it can be left outside. It has a boundary wire to ensure it doesn’t leave your yard. It can handle up to 2,700 square feet on a single charge.

Sold by Amazon

Eufy RoboVac 15C

This affordable robot vacuum has powerful suction and an intuitive app. You can control it with voice commands, and it does an excellent job of picking up cat hair. It detects when a deep clean is needed and increases its suction power.

Sold by Amazon

iRobot Braava Jet M6

You can create automated schedules to decide when and where it cleans. The programmable “Keep-Out” zones ensure it doesn’t spray cleaning chemicals in your nursery or pet area.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Sophinique X5 Window Cleaner Robot

This can clean automatically or manually via a smartphone app. The microfiber cleaning pads are washable, so you won’t have to worry about buying replacements. It has three smart-cleaning routes, including one that cleans from top to bottom and one from left to right.

Sold by Amazon

RoboRock S5 Max Robot Vacuum and Mop

This versatile device is perfect for homes with carpets, tile and hardwood. It has a convenient side brush to reach tight spaces. You can customize the water flow for each room in your home.

Sold by Amazon

Hobot 298 Window Cleaning Robot

This robot features a powerful water sprayer to clean dirt and grime. It works automatically and you can control it with the included remote or a smartphone app.

Sold by Amazon

Other robot products worth checking out

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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