Neato is expanding its robot vacuum offerings with a new "BotVac" series due in mid-April 2014. The initial launch will include four models: BotVac 70e, BotVac 75, BotVac 80, and BotVac 85 with prices ranging from $479.99 to $599.99. So, how do BotVacs differ from the $379.99 XV Essential, $429.99 XV-21, and $449.99 XV Signature Pro we've tested from Neato's existing product line-up?
One obvious difference is the color scheme. All of the XV line of bots have different finishes -- from the black and dark gray XV Signature Pro to … Read more
Some robot fish we've seen wouldn't be able to escape a predator if their fins depended on it.
Enter the new fish-shaped "soft robot" developed by Andrew Marchese, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. It can execute an escape maneuver called a "C-turn" in about 100 milliseconds, matching the speed of fish in the wild. Such swiftness is one of the things that most sets this robofish apart.
Soft robots are machines that have gushy exteriors and move around through the use of fluids or gases pumping … Read more
It lets you lift up to 220 pounds like you're lifting a baby. It has 22 different points of movement. And it makes you look a little like Optimus Prime. It's the "body extender" from Perceptual Robotics Laboratory in Italy. And it would make one hell of a Halloween costume.
The Percro engineers who invented the robotic exoskeleton say it's the most sophisticated wearable robot developed to date. They say it could be used to assist in disaster zones as wearers would be able to lift large pieces of rubble off people trapped by earthquake debris, though as of now, there's no word on when it will be available. The contraption lets wearers lift up to 110 pounds with each hand.
At least one prominent technology executive isn't concerned with robots becoming too smart and overtaking the world.
Speaking at the Oasis: The Montgomery Summit on Wednesday, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said that at some point in the future "robots will become omnipresent in our lives in a good way." Bloomberg, which was in attendance at the event, earlier reported on his comments.
Google has been investing heavily in robotics over the last few years, buying up a host of companies under the leadership of Android chief Andy Rubin. The search giant is reportedly focusing its efforts initially on manufacturing processes, … Read more
It's no secret that we're big fans of what Neato Robotics is doing in the world of vacuums. Last year, the XV Signature Pro was one of the big standouts among all the appliances that we tested, offering Roomba-level cleaning power at a fraction of the cost. Last month, we took a look at the XV Essential, which offers a similar level of performance at an even lower price point.
Now, we're taking a look back at the XV-21, a Neato robot vacuum released in 2012 which promises to do a superior job at picking up pet … Read more
Ah, September of 2013. I remember it like it was only five months ago. There was a pleasant autumnal crispness to the air, the leaves were just starting to turn... and the nascent CNET Appliances team was hard at work testing robot vacuums by repeatedly dirtying and cleaning the floors at the boss' house (our testing facility was still under construction back then).
But the best of times can also be the worst of times -- and I'm not talking about the fact that our boss still can't sweep his floors without kicking up five-month-old, sawdust-coated black rice. … Read more
Toy Fair has a lot of remote-controlled things. Robots, RC vehicles...and odder stuff. I drove a few, was shot by a few, and ducked while nearly being hit by a few. While there are admittedly more than I could ever take in during my one day on the floor, here were my favorite funky robots and RC toys I saw. (For more toys, check out Bridget Carey's journey.)
Nerf Combat Creatures Hasbro's first Nerf robot is headed to stores this fall for $79.99, and it looks like a spider fused with a dart gun. The six-legged … Read more
Have you ever seen a termite mound? Those little bugs are amazing engineers, constructing giant (compared with their own size) structures, working relentlessly even though individual insects die.
It was this system of self-organization that inspired Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University scientists and engineers in building a team of autonomous construction-bots.… Read more
When the original "RoboCop" premiered in 1987, the idea of a resurrected man in a machine body battling autonomous killer droids was only slightly less outlandish than the replicants of "Blade Runner" or a sociopathic artificial intelligence in "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Flash forward nearly three decades to the "RoboCop" remake. Our protagonist, Alex Murphy, instead of being brought back from the dead, is only critically injured when robbed of his agency, which leads to this popcorn action-flick tackling a different breed of philosophical issues than its predecessor.
While the 1987 version … Read more