The Looj, iRobot's gutter-cleaning robot, won a Best of Innovations Design and Engineering award at this year's Consumer Electronics Showcase. Controlled via wireless remote, the Looj makes gutter-cleaning a safer enterprise, as you don't have to keep moving the ladder down the length of the gutter. You let the robot do the traveling instead, and an auger spinning at 500 RPM flings pinecones, leaves and sludge right over the edge.
Still, even with a starting price of $99, it seems a little over-the-top—the local handyman could probably do the job much faster, and, over time, for not that much more money. The Looj really makes you wonder if the folks at iRobot plan to design a machine for every household chore.—Gregory Mone
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.