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"What television does is rent us friends and relatives who are quite satisfactory. This is quite something, to rent artificial friends and relatives right inside the house."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Robot Mice  
  Tiny cleaning robots.  

This item comes from a short story that is a Cold War classic, and well worth reading.

Nine-fifteen, sang the clock, time to clean.

Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust. Then, like mysterious invaders, they popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eyes faded. The house was clean.

From The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury.
Published by Various in 1950
Additional resources -

And for larger items, the 'copper scrap rats' would come and seize the offending matter with their miniature jaws.

Although the iRobot Roomba is perhaps more famous, the world's first automatic vacuum cleaner is the Electrolux Trilobite, presented to the public on the BBC in 1997.

This item comes from the story There Will Come Soft Rains, published in 1950.



(Wally Woods' cartoon version)

Robot mouse fans might also be interested in the Greg Bear's dustmice, tiny robotic detectives from his 1990 novel Queen of Angels. As far as I know, the first example of this kind of technovelgy are the golden shuttles from a 1941 story by Eric Frank Russell (writing under a pseudonym).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Martian Chronicles
  More Ideas and Technology by Ray Bradbury
  Tech news articles related to The Martian Chronicles
  Tech news articles related to works by Ray Bradbury

Robot Mice-related news articles:
  - Electrolux Trilobite: Programmable Robot Vacuum Cleaner
  - AMouse: Bradbury's Robot Mice Get Real Whiskers
  - BIOTACT Whiskered Robot Rat
  - Fukitorimushi Floor-Cleaning Robot - An Inchworm Dust Mop
  - SCRATCHbot Robot Rat Whiskers Video
  - Mini Robot Swarms
  - Kilobot Robot Swarm
  - Shrewbot Uses Whiskers As Sensors
  - OMG! DIY Arduino Robot Vacuum Cleaner Like Bradbury's Mice
  - Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats

Articles related to Robotics
Dyson's Secret Household Robots
Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs

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Science Fiction in the News

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...'

Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.'

Prototype 3D Printer Could Print Arteries In Seconds
'...in the tank the new body and the new mind and memory and life has taken almost instant form.'

China Wants 'Hard Kill' Capability To Counter Starlink Satellites
'pirate three-vee satellites sanded out of orbit...'

Low-Cost Gel Pulls Water From Atmosphere Like Star Wars Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance. It had to be coaxed down...'

Pixy Flying Selfie Drone From Snap
'It hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'

Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs
A robot 'as big as a dust grain.'

Pleasure Model Replicants Now Available
'Want a life-companion... sir, I can get you up any style you want.'

Robot Covered In Living Human Skin
'Hey buddy, you got a dead cat in there or what?'

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