2019’s Goal #3 – I am automating my home πŸ§ΉπŸ’†β€β™‚οΈ

If you’re wondering what my goal #1 and #2 are, I am yet to write about them. πŸ˜‚ In the meantime, I am ready to talk about my 3rd goal for 2019 i.e. automating my home.

Well, It’ll be a side “hobby” and I’ll take it real slow. Things that I’ll automate are:

  • Cleaning (With a Robot Vacuum Cleaner which potentially has good mobile-app integration so I don’t have to be home to start the device)
  • Lights (voice-controlled with Phillips Hue Bulbs)
  • Fan (voice-controlled if I find a workaround with my existing fan system)
  • Geysers (voice-controlled with Smart plugs)
  • TV (By installing a separate RC signal with Raspberry-Pi)
Few of the things (to start with) I’ll automate

Why automate?

This goal of automating the house comes from my long-lived fascination of 3 things:

  • Clean living environment – I am extremely fanatic about cleanliness. I’ve picked it up from my mom. Since the time I started living alone, I have always cleaned my house on my own. I don’t like dust getting accumulated for a longer period of time (2-3 days max is my threshold). Also, I don’t like unorganized stuff around me – this comes from being a designer as I am constantly trying to find symmetry and better layout in my designs and that transcends to my lifestyle as well. ✨
Cleanliness and organized stuff is what someone will notice first in my house
  • Productivity hacks – I have always gravitated towards the idea of improving productivity. I keep trying productivity hacks every now-and-then to better the output from what I already have, either for fun or for work. Although these experiments don’t lead to the desired output most of the times, irrespective of that, I do like to optimize little/big things around me. (P.S. I mostly do it for fun/learning. I am not a productivity-Hitler). πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»
  • Automation – Since the day I read the book, The 4 Hour Workweek, I started thinking about automating stuff that either takes a lot of time to get done or that I do not enjoy doing repetitively. For example, I like to prepare my breakfast and order lunch & dinner every day but then again, sometimes I just don’t want to. So I automated this part of my toutine with a service like Eat.Fit in Bangalore. Similarly, in my day job as a Product Designer, I introduced a design system so it can automate the component update process through all my mockups and hence speed up my design process (Read about why design systems are important here: Brad Frost’s Blog. πŸ€–

So what first?

I have always cleaned my house myself. I used to do dust-cleaning and mopping every weekend when I was in Pune. But then I moved to a bigger house in Bangalore. While dust cleaning was still manageable, mopping floor every weekend used to take a lot of time and effort. So finally, I started mopping every alternate weekend And for dust cleaning, I bought a hand-held vacuum cleaner last year expecting it to make my life easier. And honestly, it did make my life easier as mopping (a harder task) was down from 4x to 2x every month. πŸ’ͺ

But here’s the twist. In India, houses pick up dust easily because they’re mostly surrounded by busy roads and construction sites. Yes, the construction never stops in this country and we barely use any tools to isolate dust at construction sites. This led me to automate the dust-cleaning process for my house once and for all.

So, I am taking the first step towards automation by buying a vacuum robot to automate floor dust-cleaning. After researching a lot on Vacuuming Robots made by companies like iRobot, Dyson, and Xiaomi, it seemed like all of them were doing the same job quite decently but the prices varied a lot because of the brand names. Xiaomi’s robot seemed like the best of the lot as it was 1/2th the price of iRobot and 1/4th the price of a Dyson robot. Plus this was my first try at vacuuming robots, so I didn’t want to spend a lot and finding that my money wasn’t worth it.

Xiaomi’s Robot Vacuum Cleaner packaging on the left and the device itself on the right

The Xiaomi’s Robot Vaccum Cleaner collects dust from the floor as far as it can see and reach; it cleans in a systematic path vs a random one and if the battery gets low while cleaning, it goes to the charging dock, charges itself and resumes back from the same spot. The best part is that it comes with a really intuitive app developed by Xiaomi itself. Have a look below.

From left to right: Mapping of the house done by the house, You can choose in what mode the robot needs to clean, You can also ask the robot to clean only specific areas drawn by you, and you can also move the robot manually using a remote control interface from the app. 🧹

The Verdict

After buying this robot and using it for 8+ weeks now, I can attest that I wake up to a clean house every day without having to worry about it. Dust accumulation has gone down and because of that, I am mopping the house only alternate weekends or maybe less. As for the robot maintenance, the dust is very easy to dispose off as it gets contained in a filter box, so that’s also an “easy” one and contributes to less work/time spent on robot maintenance. βœ…

In a nutshell, I’ve been using this for 8+ weeks now and I think this will be one of my best return-on-investment purchases of 2019. πŸ’°

Author: Sankalp Sinha

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Senior Product Designer | 🌐 Working remotely | πŸ“ Heavily organized | ✍ Writing about my experiments in Professional & Personal Life | πŸ™†β€β™‚οΈ All about me πŸ‘‰sankalpsinha.com

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