Sunday, November 27, 2016

Robot Duster

So, there I was in the arcade center in Amu Plaza, and I was looking at the UFO Catcher machines...
The prizes in the crane arm machines can be divided into six categories. First, there's the question of how easy or difficult the prize appears to be to get ("Can I get this for less money than if I bought it from a store?") Then there are the issues of size and desirability ("Do I have a place to put this?" and "Is this something I want?") So, some of the machines will have prizes that look easy to get, but are either things I don't want, or too big to keep. I'll still try to get those prizes anyway if I know of someone I can give them to. But, I have to have the right combination to justify playing the machines: Easy to get, and small enough to put into storage or too big but I have someone I know that would take it. But, there are items that are a little more practical, such as the projection clock, that I do want, just for the blog.

Anyway, one of the machines had this little "robot cleaner", and I thought I had a chance at it. I put in 500 yen ($5) to get 6 chances, and discovered that the arms were sprung - they just slid around the edges of the box. That was disappointing, so I just hit buttons to burn the rest of the credits, and discovered that the arms would hold just enough to slide the box backward an inch at a time. It was sitting on 2 dowel rods, and if the front corner of the box went back enough, it would fall off the other rod and into the hopper. After using up the first 6 credits, I got some more change and kept trying.

On my 14th try, and after 1,300 yen, the box finally dropped. Actually, this isn't a "cleaning robot." It's just an automated floor duster. The box comes with 20 cleaning sheets, and you attach one sheet to the velcro strips on the bottom of the unit. Turn it on, and it rolls across the floor, dusting it with the sheet. The unit is about 6" across, so it doesn't clean a lot in one pass. On the other hand, the way it handles obstacles is fun to watch, and it is capable of getting itself untrapped without help. Unfortunately, there's no "drop switch" so it can't tell if it's reached the edge of some stairs, or the region in front of an outside door. Still, it's a fun toy, and I do have a use for it for making cat videos. If I ever get a cat. And, I got it for less money than if I'd bought it at a store.

(Sidenote: I did eventually find someone that really wanted to give it a new home.)

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