Long before the sterile Roomba arrived, there was a more anthropomorphic cleaning slave known as the Tomy Dustbot.
Released in 1985, the Dustbot is claimed to be the first robot to feature a built-in vacuum cleaner (that broom was just for show) and featured edge detection to turn away from obstacles.
I never owned a Dusbot, but I did have his brother, the Verbot—as did Jesus Diaz (I just discovered in our Gizmodo chatroom). The Verbot was a voice-programmable robot with a stylish bubble helmet and wide-spaced kid-friendly eyes to offset their evil red glow. We each found Verbot’s lifting powers to be a little wimpy, but I’m sure that years ago from across the world, Jesus and I were simultaneously experimenting with our first American curse words by mapping them to simple robot functions, unbeknownst to us both. [The Old Robots via bbGadgets]