Love gadgets, but hate cleaning? This familiar robotic vacuum cleaner concept may not come across as very ground-breaking as when announced a few years back, but a little competition never hurt anybody. Meet Neato, a robot with a "Room Positioning System" that utilizes lasers to detect obstacles when cleaning (versus Roomba's drunk puppy running into walls method).
Seeing as two out of two of our Roombas have died during duty these past few years, coupled with a general criticism about the robotic friends' inability to effectively on a single battery charge, there's plenty of room for another company to tackle the technological space of robotic vacuum cleaning.
Neato claims they're working to solve many of those issues, with "smarter" mapping technology that allows it to scan the room 360-degrees. They also propose a linear method (aka back and forth) instead of Roomba's "less efficient" zigzag patterns. And like Roomba's they work with both hardwood floors and carpets, allows for user scheduling, and comes with a docking station that it'll automatically return to after its work is complete or needs an extra charge to finish.
We're not sold on the D-shape just yet, but it has a pretty low profile - 4 inches high - so it'll be able to run under my bed, my sofa, and weird crevices I wouldn't dare go under. Priced at $400, the Neato is set to start cleaning floors around February 2010.