The future promised a lot, and while robot butlers and hovercars are still pipe-dreams, robot vacuum cleaners are very much a reality. Hot on the heels of its IFA 2011 unveiling, Tech Digest got to spend some quality time with our very own clean-freak R2D2, the iRobot Roomba 780 vacuum cleaner. Read on to see whether or not it's time to send the Dyson to the dumpster.
I tell you, this IFA place is great. The show has barely begun and already I’m getting excited about the pending UK release of robotic hoovers. This is actually a little footage I grabbed last night of the Roomba and Scoomba…
So there I was on Friday, snowed under with work and wanting the weekend to arrive but take a bit longer than usual to get here so I could finish off everything I needed to do. And then it struck me, what I actually needed was some help around the house. No, I don’t mean an eastern European cleaner, or a girlfriend – the first is too expensive and the second a lot of hassle, or should that be the other way around?
And then I read on Tech Digest about the iRobot Looj: the robot that cleans your gutter. Now that’s more like it! A robot for cleaning my gutter, I WANT ONE! The fact my gutting doesn’t need cleaning and is currently free of leaves, is of no consequence…
I’ve written about the launch of iRobot’s ConnectR robot already, but the company has released several photos showing just how the bot fits into your lives. Here goes…
The “Daddy might be holed up in another late night meeting with his secretary, but he can still log in to read you a bedtime story, kids” shot.
Having unveiled the Looj gutter-cleaning robot earlier today, iRobot has now shown off another new bot, the ConnectR. It’s a ‘virtual communication and interaction’ robot designed for families.
Basically, it hooks up to your home Wi-Fi network, and lets you dial in remotely to have videochats and VoIP calls with people in the house (or pets, weirdly – if your dog doesn’t mind woofing into a communication robot).
Still think robots aren’t useful? Check this one out. It’s called the iRobot Looj, and it cleans your gutter so you don’t have to spend half a day shinning up and down a ladder doing the job yourself.
It stands 2.25-inches high, and sweeps out dirt, leaves and other debris while you settle down for a nice cup of tea. Or, if you’re like us, gather all your neighbours round to boast about your new gutter-cleaning robot.
Remember the days when robo-vacs were greeted with slack-mouthed awe like they’d stepped out of a sci-fi movie? Those days are gone now: vacuum cleaning robots are on sale, they work, and for an increasing number of people, they’re just a part of daily life. iRobot has been one of the prime movers behind that trend.
No, we hadn’t forgotten about it. We were just giving the final bots in our Robot World Cup a few weeks to rest their bones (well, mechanical joints) before rejoining battle. And what a battle it is. We’re at the semi-final stage, which means the last four robots in the competition. Three of ’em are humanoid: Honda’s Asimo, WowWee’s Robosapien RS Media, and KornTech’s Rogun. The quartet is completed by iRobot’s military Packbot, which swaps legs for tank treads.
Yes, okay, so there’s been a bit of delay between Round Three of our Robot World Cup and the quarter finals. They needed some oil after three rounds of knockout action (and besides, if the Cricket World Cup can last for what seemed like 17 years, I don’t see why our robo-contest can’t be strung out a bit).
Run! Run for the hills! Humanity is doomed. And not just because we angered Him Upstairs with that dreadful Diana tribute concert yesterday. iRobot has started kitting out its track-wheeled PackBot Explorer robot with Taser X26 stun-guns.