Monday, April 28, 2008

The First and Only Floor Washing Robot

iRobot introduced a revolutionary cleaning robot back in December 2005 called the Scooba. It has been over 2 years and so far there are no direct competitors to this unique floor washing robot. The Scooba uses similar robotics to its floor cleaning cousin, the Roomba. What makes the Scooba unique is the use of liquid (water and detergent mix) in order to sweep, wash and dry up our dirty floors in one pass. Does it work? Ask the thousands of owners that use it every single day! They may not have fallen in love with it like their attitude-prone Roomba but it gets the job done without a complaint. It is fairly simple to set it up, run it and clean it afterwards. Many wish that the Scooba would be able to be scheduled and re-charge automatically, both engineering problems that can be solved with current technologies. Ideally I would also like to have the Scooba dock, charge and re-fill/dump it's tanks automatically (something like Danh Trinh's iRobot contest winning robot) after each cleaning session. Hope to see iRobot bring out something as revolutionary with their next generation Scooba, if so I will treat their engineers to a case of Diet Coke! or whatever caffeine drink they drink!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is Your Roomba A Cylon?

I found this great short video that makes a parody of the new Battlestar Galactica (BSG) series with iRobot Roombas! Just imagine, your Roomba at home cleaning your floors each day, without complaining, could very well be the ancestor of a future sentient robot race! So treat them with care so they may in turn treat us well. Enjoy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Human Than Human : Reem B

Back in March 2008 we wrote about PAL Team from Spain and their second generation humanoid robot called Reem B. Recently another video came up about Reem B and its abilities which separates it from the small crown of humanoid robots. Some of the abilities are:

  • Walking speed of 1.5 Km/h
  • Battery power that lasts more than 2 hours of use
  • More motors and joints that enable Reem B to perform more complex movements
  • Able to lift up and carry loads up to 12 Kg
  • Able to recognize and manipulate household items
  • Face and voice recognition
  • Ability to create maps of it surrounding environment
  • Ability to perform autonomous path planning and obstacle avoidance

These are just a brief glimpse of what Reem B may accomplish. The official presentation of the Reem B will take place within a week or so at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. We will get more details of this interesting humanoid robot soon after the official presentation takes place.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A True Robotic Butler: Mir-H

Mostitech has created one interesting robot that could act as your very own butler. The Mir-H: Ubiquitous Robot could help you with many things around your home. At about US$800 you can have 8 lb. Mir-H combine robotics, internet and mobile technologies in order to provide you with security, remote monitoring, entertainment and home networking. The robot will guard your home when you are away and it can inform you of intruders via your cell phone and internet. You can as well use the robot to check up on family members, pets and/or your property by using its sensors. Mir-H is able to recognize voice commands, talk to you, play music + videos, play games, provide real time news, weather and manage your schedule while acting as a VOIP device! As you can see, Korea is being serious of becoming the foremost authority within the domestic robotics industry.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


The domestic robotics market is starting to fill up very fast for iRobot. Samsung has announced, back in late March 2008, that they will release their latest floor cleaning robot called the Hauzen VC-RE70V. Hauzen is Samsung's line of automatic home gadgets which includes this little guy that helps to keep your floors looking clean. Samsung is planning to have it ready for the Korean market within this month or the next. What makes the Hauzen VC-RE70V stand out is the ability to truely map rooms in order to clean floors more efficiently and be less like our blind Roomba friend. This unit should be able to re-charge it's batteries and come back to clean where it left off. Hope that this Samsung robot is able to clean as well as a Roomba and is as autonomous as a Karcher RC3000 without costing an arm or leg.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Metapo CleanMate 2 - Roomba's Rival?

iRobot has enjoyed an almost full dominance of the home cleaning robotics market since 2002. There have been others as Karcher and Electrolux that have tried but have failed to win the mass market edge that iRobot currently has. Slowly but surely the people at Metapo with much improved cleaning ability, on both carpet and hard floors, while maintaining their competitive price then and only then is when some interesting competition between them and are making their way into this market share with their Cleanmate series of cleaning robots. Metapo shows many signs of ingenuity and a hunger to improve their robots although they currently fall short at cleaning floors as good as a Roomba. If Metapo is able to create their next version of the Cleanmate with much improved cleaning capabilities and at competitive prices then and only then we will see them eating away at iRobot's market share. With a much needed competition, we will get better products at affordable prices and a faster pace in the evolution of home robotics.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Vecna Robotics "HomeBEAR" : The Rescue Robot

The great minds at Vecna Robotics are definitely living up to their corporate mandate: " “Better Technology, Better World.” by creating the BEAR (Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot). The BEAR was designed with the main purpose of carrying humans (up to 500 Lb.) and moving them to a safe area. You can see right away the many fields of rescue that this robot can really help us out. Another area of interest within Vecna is having a semi-autonomous version of the BEAR to help out in at home with the elderly, disabled, children or act as a second hand for certain home tasks (carrying heavy items, lifting heavy furniture and appliances (you can see this guy being hired by a moving company!)). The high-mobility tracked "leg" base and the dynamic balance behavior joints will help BEAR climb many obstacles inside the home (stairs) or out in the back yard (stones, decks, etc.) since it can also stand up on it's two "legs" if needed. The BEAR is currently in the proof-of-concept development stage but soon enough we should see them helping one of us in time of need or assistance.