Roombas are cute and everything, but when they annoy you, they don’t respond well to being kicked in the side. Not so with Dust Ball, a new robotic vacuum cleaner concept designed by a Dutch engineer. Inspired by a hamster ball and resembling a pollen grain, Dust Ball can be pushed or kicked in any direction to clean.
When the Roomba began stumbling over carpets everywhere in 2002, mankind's dual fascination with robots and avoiding housework finally coalesced. The Mint automatic floor cleaner tweaks the original Roomba concept, replacing suction with wet/dry Swiffer cloths and adding a remotely-synced GPS-like system to guide its movement more intelligently.
How much do you love your vacuum cleaner? If yours happens to be a cute little Roomba, a new study suggests that you might like it a little bit too much . A Georgia Tech researcher has found that many Roomba owners name, dress up and genuinely worry about their Roombas, as if they were living pets.
Autonomous cars and military 'bots find their way by using lasers to make virtual maps of terrain. Neato Robotics's XV-11 applies the same tactic to your messy living room. The robotic vacuum uses smaller, cheaper lasers to scope out a space and plot the quickest path to cover it. So instead of wandering randomly and bouncing off objects, like other robot maids, it can devote its battery to actual vacuuming.
By Gregory MonePosted 09.21.2007 at 10:18 am 0 Comments
Yesterday, iRobot Corp., the manufacturer of the Roomba and PackBots, went to a federal court in Boston and asked a judge to issue an order halting the production of a rival robot builder's machines. iRobot alleges that a former employee of the company, Jameel Ahed, designed the bots for his new firm, Robotic FX, using iRobot trade secrets. No, that's not a PackBot pictured on the left.
There's more than pride at stake here. Robotic FX just won a $280 million contract from the military last week. It looks like production at Robotic FX won't shut down, but this should be an interesting case to follow. Personally, I think they should just let the robots fight it out.—Gregory Mone
Think making a robot sounds hard? Not anymore. Now you can turn your Roomba into one
By Phillip TorronePosted 05.01.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
Why: To patrol your home while you're away, capturing images you can access on any Web-connected device.
The Gear: Tablet PC, webcam, cable, battery pack, strong Velcro
How: Use the onboard PC to send the Roomba instructions to (roughly) follow a predetermined path around your pad. Set the webcam to snap a picture every few minutes and automatically upload it over your Wi-Fi network to a photo-sharing site such as Flickr, which you can log onto from anywhere. Advanced trick: Wire the battery pack to recharge when the Roomba hits the base station so that it can operate indefinitely.
The Roomba's new serial interface lets you use the little vacuum for any robotics task you like, controllable through preprogrammed instructions or over Bluetooth from a laptop. We wrote about some 'bots you could make with this in the January issue's How 2.0 section, but the obvious outcome was finally realized last night at ETech: Roomba cockfighting. More photos as well as videos (including some from the Roomba's point of view) here.
Weâ€™ve come a long way since the Hoover, but an autonomous robot-maid is still a long way off. Donâ€™t throw away the dish gloves just yet.
By Larry SmithPosted 03.02.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
From the Jetsons' Rosie to Richie Rich's Irona to Robby of Forbidden Planet, we've been promised digital domestics that look and act a lot like . . . a maid. But that isn't going to happen anytime soon, robot experts say. The problem? Today's machines are a long way from having the anthropomorphic qualities-above all, sight-found in human help.