The Roomba 790 is the latest autonomous vaccuum cleaner from the folks at iRobot, and it's the first that you can control remotely. Yep, the 790 includes a wireless remote control that you can use to direct the Roomba towards any problem areas. The device itself has touch controls, a method to schedule automatic cleanings, and has great battery life. It isn't cheap, though. You can get the Rooma 790 now for $699.99.
Read More | iRobot
Who says the military is not into games? When we last told you about the iRobot Packbot, it had barely taken off as a prototype that could fly with a parafoil system. The USDE has been busy and is now teaching its battlefield model, which features a gun and sensory equipment, to run via a Wii controller. It seems that the soldiers spent more time operating the bot than in reading data and they figured this would be a more useful alternative. Engineers have developed software that will send back vibrations if it finds something of importance, like an injured soldier. They would also like to hook it up to an iPhone sometime in the future.
Read More | New Scientist Tech
Can the military ever have enough robots? Apparently not. An iRobot team devised the packbot Griffon, a prototype that combines with a steerable parafoil system. Controlled by radio and running on gasoline, it attaches to the Ozone Razor with two hang points. The kit was meant to be carried by soldiers or civilians for search and rescue missions. We understand that it never went past its practice runs and we suspect that it was forgotten in lieu of newer technology.
Read More | c/net
iRobot is at it again. This time, the Roomba folks have come up with the Looj. Designed for the single task of gutter cleaning, the bot works with standard K-style vinyl, aluminum, copper, or other metal. The company claims that it cleans a 60 ft. section in about ten minutes. The basic model 120 will set you back $99.99 from iRobot, with two other models available with optional holster and/or extra battery pack. We suspect that the name came from the luge, the Olympic sled, but wouldn’t take any bets on it until we see our neighborhood squirrels facing off in a Gutter Looj competition.
Read More | iRobot
Roomba has reinvented itself. After almost 2 million of the vacuuming bots have been sold, iRobot decided to upgrade after listening to owners’ suggestions. The robots can now get out of more jams, slow down when they detect a wall or obstacle, and have one-button activation. They also have the capability of traveling on thicker carpets, avoiding stairs, transitioning easily between floor surfaces and, most importantly, have a built-in tutorial.
The new Roomba 500 series will be shipping in the U.S. in September at prices of $249.99 to $399.99 and for those budget-minded folks, the basic 400 model is available for only $119.99.
Read More | roomba 500 Series Product Page
Robotic vacuum manufacturer iRobot has always taken a shine to the modders who hack their Roombas in all sorts of new ways. Delivering an open serial port and full instructions on how to utilize it was a great gesture and a very forward thinking move for them, but their latest, the iRobot Create, might really take off. The Create is essentially a Roomba without all of the vacuuming guts. It’s an open platform, with a bunch of expansion and input and output ports on top, and more room to toy with it, since you don’t have to worry about a place to put all that dust and cat hair. Add-on peripherals will be available, but iRobot expects and encourages users to build their own to interface with it, citing a hamster-ball-driven navigation system one test group has already delivered.
The Create is available right now and is selling for the completely reasonable price of $129.99, with an 8-bit command module costing an additional $59.99.
I can see a lot of educational robot teams and the like buying into this, straight away.
(A picture of a beer-fetching Create, after the jump.)