other below-the-waist functions you might be imagining, so the entertainment
possibilities for your spouse are limited. However, it can sit there and say “yes,
dear” and even pretend to enjoy watching Oprah, which alone might make it
worth the $225,000.
Rug Sucker Uses Laser Vision
By all accounts,
iRobot ( www.irobot.
com) has sold in
excess of 3,000,000
of its Roomba robotic
vacuums since 2002,
with nothing much
appearing in the way
robotics.com) — a
Silicon Valley startup
— is upping the ante
with its XV- 11 all-floor
vacuum system: it is the first to employ laser vision to map floor space and
avoid obstacles that other cleaning bots detect only by impact. Using Neato’s
Room Positioning System (RPS) Technology™, the XV- 11 takes a 360° peek at
a room, taking note of walls, furniture, doorways, and any obstacles located
at up to 4 m away. It then uses simultaneous location and mapping
(SLAM), and proprietary path-planning algorithms to clean the space in a
back-and-forth pattern rather than the seemingly disorderly movements of
the Roomba. The result is said to be faster and more power-efficient cleaning.
Other features include higher suction, a low profile (< 4 inches in height), a
larger dirt bin (660 cc, or 0.7 ft3 ), and self-docking for recharge. You can
pick one up for $399, including a 30-day, money-back guarantee and a
one-year hardware warranty.
The XV- 11 robotic vacuum. Courtesy of Neato Robotics.
Robot Conference Coming Up
If you’ve always wanted an excuse to visit Alaska on the company
expense account, consider the 2010 IEEE International Conference on
Robotics and Automation (ICRA2010) to be held in Anchorage, May 3
through 8. The conference theme is “ 50 Years of Robotics,” reflecting on
achievements of the field and the broad impact of robotics and automation
research, development, and education. It’s too late to submit a paper of
your own, but you can sit in on invited sessions, view videos, and attend
tutorials and workshops, plus there will be an exhibit site for companies,
universities, publishers, and researchers. Some 1,300+ attendees are
expected. Rooms are available at the Hilton for a group rate of $145/night
and the Marriott at $155/night. (Of course, better deals are available online.)
You don’t have to worry about freezing: May temperatures in Anchorage
average 39 and 55°F; low and high. Info is available at icra2010.grasp.
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