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Toys

Electrolux Robot Vacuum Cleaner 219

An anonymous reader writes "Modelled on an ancient arthropod the Electrolux Trilobite is in stores from Friday and should cost around £999." It isn't the first robot vacuum, but they do claim it automatically recharges itself (which I don't think the Roomba does). And for only 8 times the price! A bargain. Electrolux's website has some more information.
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Electrolux Robot Vacuum Cleaner

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  • by MrBoombasticfantasti ( 593721 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:13AM (#5971755)
    I've heard these things kinda suck...
  • Handy hint: (Score:5, Funny)

    by nicky_d ( 92174 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:14AM (#5971762) Homepage
    Remember this quote from the article:

    Magnetic strips must be placed at doorways and near stairs to act as invisible walls and stop it plunging to its doom down a flight of steps.

    ... when they turn against us.
    • I think you watched Matrix Reloaded a few times too many yesterday ;-)
      • by nicky_d ( 92174 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:24AM (#5971818) Homepage
        Looking out for stair-based methods for foiling homicidal machines is more an indicator of too much Dr. Who, actually...
        • > Looking out for stair-based methods for foiling homicidal machines is more an indicator of too much Dr. Who, actually...

          You mean, like this [somethingawful.com] little fella?

          "EX-ter-mi..."

          *pause*

          "FUCK."

          • Your last word is what I thought when I clicked the link and got the anti-leech image, urgh! It ought to be added to the 'goatxxxx' related list (of images you shouldn't have to see).

            Although I don't have a link, there was a Daily Mail (UK bigoted middle class rag) cartoon that had a Dalek hell bent on world domination to be confronted with stairs. Unfortunately the first time I saw the Daleks in an episode, it hovered up some stairs - so the joke was lost on me for a while.

            I wouldn't mind getting the Dy

    • Re:Handy hint: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SteveX ( 5640 ) *
      The Roomba detects the steps and backs away from them. I stress tested this by putting it on a little landing - maybe 8 square feet of carpet with a precipice on one edge - and it did fine. Better than laying down magnetic strip all over..
  • by A Proud American ( 657806 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:15AM (#5971767)
    What's this "vacuuming" technology you speak of?
  • Dupe? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Cr3d3nd0 ( 517274 )
    I seem to recall reading this somewhere... oh here ooops :-) On another note I got to watch one of these do there thing a while back, and while the concept seems cool they tend to bump into feet a litle too much. It's like a dog trying to hump your leg
  • Very big news indeed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:17AM (#5971778)
    This must be news about the US release.They (Trilobite) have been available in Europe and Sweden for two years. Very new(s) indeed.

  • Roomba has an add-on self charger. Around $50 if I remember, at Bed Bath & Beyond (or was it Linen's and Things? they look identicle to me when I get inside the door).
    • by SteveX ( 5640 ) * on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:32AM (#5971862) Homepage
      It's not a self-charger, it's a fast charger. You have to take the battery out and put it in the charger (which also means with two batteries you can run it non stop).
      • Nope. At the store (not on a website, I looked) they had a SELF CHARGER, yes I know there is a difference because the fast charger was another stack or two over for a different price (neither was exactly $50).

        Perhaps it was mis-labeled, on both the sign and the boxes, whatever, but yes I do know the difference between a fast charger and a self charger thank you. They were DIFFERENT (that means they are not the same, in reality).

        Thanks for the "instructions" too but I already knew how to recharge a batte
        • I own a roomba, there is no self charger available. It must have been mis-labled. The charging mechanism is a two prong plug, and the roomba has no way of lining it up or plugging it in.

          Check the iRobot roomba [roombavac.com] website. If there was one, I'd be the first to buy it.
          • Ah, then I am glad that I delayed that purchasing decision. I was teetering on whipping out the cc that day and getting the whole package.

            Even without that capability $199 is a decent price (in my mind) and $1800 more for a self charging vacume (Electrolux) is just not worth it to me. Still planning on getting a Roomba sometime this summer.
          • Since I've been looking at getting one of these, I have to ask, how good of job does it do? Is it really a fire and forget type thing, or do you have to go back and touch up afterwards?

  • by doctor_oktagon ( 157579 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:20AM (#5971795)
    Seriously ... this is cool!

    Electrolux are a huge mainstream consumer goods company so that they have the balls to develop and market this is fantastic and it will spur others on, which will reduce costs and expand the market.

    I'm 31 - when I was a child they promised us a life cast free from housework with more time for leisure.

    While it's always been tantalisingly close, most products have been out of the reach of the general consumer, or produced by esoteric manufacturers that are not household names.

    Now they are actually starting to deliver. I salut you, Electrolux!
    • I agree. Screw the naysayers. I've watched a roomba in action...pretty neat.

      This is also important because of the aging population. As my parents get older, I watch everyday tasks become increasingly difficult. This makes a mainstream product of this sort more than just "cool" or "neat".
      • I've watched a roomba in action...pretty neat.

        Yeah, it's neat, but it doesn't pick up like a real vacuum, doesn't have a very large capacity, and makes enough mess emptying the bin that you have to do it outside. I have a feeling I'm going to take mine apart and cross it with an old shop-vac, and just let it drag a cord around the room.
    • "I'm 31 - when I was a child they promised us a life cast free from housework with more time for leisure."

      What they meant was that by the time you are 31 you should be married, and then free from housework with more time for leisure.



      PS: this is not sexist since I do not know the gender of the original poster...
  • "The Trilobite® is the world's first automatic vacuum cleaner." As usual, Electrolux is using falsehood in advertising. There are older robosweepers than this one. When I was in college in 1989, I thought trying to sell Elecrolux sweepers would be a good paying job to help get me through. Not only did the damn things cost nearly $2000 dollars, but all their "exclusive features" were duplicated by other brands. The only people willing to buy a $2000 sweeper had to apply for credit, and were always tur
    • Sounds to me like you just couldn't sell them and you've held a chip on your shoulder ever since. ;-)

      For the record, my mother is one of the most tight, bargain-conscious people in the world and she was totally dedicated to Electrolux vacuums. I can't speak to their quality myself (the lawn was my job) but that she was willing to part with her cutter for them speaks pretty highly of them. Of course, this was in the 1970s, so I have no idea if it holds today...

    • They can't be as bad as Kirby for hawking their vacuum cleaners though can they? In Britain they managed to make the headlines in several newspapers and consumer programmes for pressure sales tactics which ended up with people buying massively expensive cleaners that they didn't want and could ill afford. Now obviously some people are dumb to pay for something this way, but it doesn't excuse this behaviour especially when applied to old people.

      Personally I think Dysons are expensive so I really can't fath

  • Roomba.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by SteveX ( 5640 ) * on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:21AM (#5971802) Homepage
    I have a Roomba, and while automatically recharging would be cool, unless this thing has some pretty amazing smarts, I doubt that part of it will work well.

    The way you normally use the Roomba is you set the room up so the Roomba can't escape, and you let it go. It does the room, and then chirps when it's done (or stuck). If you don't lock the roomba into the room, it'll wander the whole house but not really get anything done since one charge (of either machine) is really only enough battery to do one room.

    To automatically recharge, the charger would need to be in the same room as the vacuum cleaner. If you have two floors, or you have doors, steps, or other obstacles, I imagine that part of it wouldn't work so well - you'd have to keep hauling the charger around as well as the vacuum.

    Also unless the AI is good enough that the thing really can navigate itself around a changing environment (hey there wasn't a dog there last time) and make it's way back to the charger before dying every time, I imagine you'd find a dead Trilobyte fairly frequently.

    The Roomba normaly takes 12 hours to charge, but if you get the fast charger, it charges in an hour and a half. The fast charger is $69, but well worth it.

    And if you buy it from http://www.hammacher.com, they give you a lifetime warranty! I'm wondering if they're going to regret that someday..

    So unless this thing shows some other serious advantage over the Roomba, I can't see how it justifies the price..

    And I'm not sure how they can say "While other firms have shown off prototype robot cleaners, Electrolux is the first to put one into production.", the Roomba has been on the market for a while now.

    - Steve

    • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:40AM (#5971914)
      I've used mine perhaps 20 times since I bought it, and it has a lot of problems now. Sometimes it just stops in the middle of the room and beeps its "I'm stuck" sound, even though its not. The battery has basically died to where it might run ten minutes on a full charge.

      Its an interesting device, but I've not been terribly happy about how its aged in the six months I've had it...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:46AM (#5971962)
        I've used mine perhaps 20 times since I bought it, and it has a lot of problems now. Sometimes it just stops in the middle of the room and beeps its "I'm stuck" sound, even though its not.

        Have you also cleared the brushes 20 times? I didn't think so. You're supposed to do that after every run. Wrapped up hair can provide enough friction that it thinks it's stuck.
        • It's not necessary to clean the brushes every run. According to this page [roombavac.com], they recommend doing it every ten runs. Although I think most people could go with, "As needed." Picking up a lot of long hairs? You'll probably need to clean more often. Not much hair? You can probably do it less frequently. Just clean it when a big wad of hair accumulates at the ends of the brushes.

    • Re:Roomba.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tlianza ( 454820 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:43AM (#5971944) Homepage
      I also have a Roomba, and that is my only vaccum cleaner currently. I live in a one bedroom apartment, and it is fantastic. The way these two machines work is fundamentally different, and I'm sure that reflects the price.

      Roomba doesn't map the room with ultrasound. In fact, it doesn't map the room at all. It drives around starting by spiraling out from a room's center, and uses heuristics-based AI to decide when it has cleaned the room. It lightly bumps into everything to navigate around - there are no beams to keep it from bumping into things.

      The self-charger is a good idea, and from what I've read the only thing that makes this vaccum superior to the Roomba (and does not justify the price difference). Roomba also can automatically detect a falloff like a stairway ledge, which this Electrolux cannot (without laying down strips).
      The way you normally use the Roomba is you set the room up so the Roomba can't escape
      This is true, but is also worth mentioning that you can arbitrarily decide where rooms begin and end because roomba comes with an invisible wall. You don't need to create barricades or shut doors.

      It's a pretty neat little device. I sure as hell wouldn't be vaccuming under my bed and couch on a daily basis if it wasn't for this thing going in there by itself.
    • Also unless the AI is good enough that the thing really can navigate itself around a changing environment (hey there wasn't a dog there last time) and make it's way back to the charger before dying every time, I imagine you'd find a dead Trilobyte fairly frequently.

      Would it look like this? [oceansonline.com]
      -----
    • they give you a lifetime warranty! I'm wondering if they're going to regret that

      This is a little off-topic, but from my experience a "lifetime warranty" is defined as the "lifetime of the product," not your lifetime. That means that when the product's "life" has come to an end, they warranty is over. This is defined in many ways by different companies (read the fine print), but I've found when the product is broken in any non-trivial way it's "lifetime" is over.

      And yeah, it's a scam. I once had a very

      • I've had good luck with Hammacher with other products. I wonder how long they estimate the Roomba's life will be.

        And they [hammacher.com] sell [hammacher.com] such [hammacher.com] cool [hammacher.com] stuff [hammacher.com]. - Steve

      • lifetime warranties do work. totes umbrellas have a lifetime warranty. i had one that broke in half, sent it in with $3 for shipping and got a brand new replacement. total cost was less than buying a really crappy umbrella from a street vendor.
      • Must just be the company you dealt with. Personally, I own a Swiss Army knife, they provide a lifetime warranty, and will replace it for just about any reason. For example, mine went up Kelso Dune with me 3 times, was kept in my pocket constantly, went on numerous camping trips with me, and got the hell beaten out of it in general. And, of course, I was really bad about oiling and cleaning it. So, unsuprisingly, the blades became harder and harder to open, and eventually I just couldn't get them open an
    • Yeah, but the thing takes 5 times as long it would take you to vaccuum it yourself. It also doesn't know if the floor is clean or not, it just vaccuums the whole floor in one pass and doesn't go back over spots to get every last little bit. I think it needs a couple of generations to work out the bugs before it'll be truly viable for anyone but geeks who don't vaccuum anyways. ;)
  • Dirty Corners (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uyfuyfuy ( 634938 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:22AM (#5971805)
    Of course, being circular it can't vacuum corners, so you'll have to buy a seperate vac and do that bit yourself. What a fantastic design.
    • Re:Dirty Corners (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SteveX ( 5640 ) *
      Dunno about Trilobyte but the Roomba has a little flexible rubber arm with a brush on it that spins around out one side of it.. it flicks stuff out from corners so the main part of the vacuum can get it.
    • I heard a lecture from the CEO of Electrolux when this was in development five years ago, this is what he told us.

      You are absolutely right about the reaching corners part. But apparently, they had done tests with people vacuuming and found that most people miss patches here and there. Thus while the robot does miss corners, it has slightly higher covering percentage overall.

      Tor
      • You are absolutely right about the reaching corners part. But apparently, they had done tests with people vacuuming and found that most people miss patches here and there. Thus while the robot does miss corners, it has slightly higher covering percentage overall.

        That's right up there with "What's the probability that software bug will be hit in the field?" (Answer: One. And if you hit it even once in testing it will KILL you when a few million people are using the product several hours per day.)

        If t
        • Respectfully, I disagree.

          First of all, let's think about Electrolux' objectives. It is not to make a robot that cleans 100% well. The goal is to get a robot that works reasonably well at a reasonable price.

          I think they have reached the works reasonably well part, but not the price part.

          Now is not the time to add an extra "crack-and-crevice tool that pokes out". Now is the time to work on cutting costs in production, and reaching a bigger market.

          Of course, if it were as simple as a superficial ch
  • by Zayin ( 91850 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:22AM (#5971806)
    Does it make R2D2 noises?
  • Does it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:24AM (#5971822) Homepage Journal
    Do stairs? Put itself away when it's done? For a grand, it better empty itself in the trash bin, too!
    • Do stairs? Put itself away when it's done? For a grand, it better empty itself in the trash bin, too!


      Now that's an idea. If a robotic vacuum can plug itself into a charger, why not also plug into a central vac outlet to empty out its dustbin? THAT would be cool.
    • RTFA - Oooo first time I've said that.

      "Magnetic strips must be placed at doorways and near stairs to act as invisible walls and stop it plunging to its doom down a flight of steps."

      It doesn't do stairs.

      "...returns to its recharging station when it has finished cleaning a floor..."

      Yes it's a good little cleaner.
    • Re:Does it... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swb ( 14022 )
      For this vac's money, I get someone to come to my house every three weeks and clean all the rooms (scrub kitchen and bathroom) as well as launder the towels and bathroom rugs for about a year.

  • NVidia will use these vacuum cleaners for their Geforce FX2.
  • vs. the roomba (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    this sucker looks a hell of a lot like the roomba, as stated in the post. we sell (or tried to sell) the roombas where I work [bedbathandbeyond.com] for $199.99, and they sold like crapcakes. Nada. People want a vacuum that can hold more than a handful of dust.

    I daresay this version will have the same problems owing largely to its short profile. no room! now, if part of the auto-charge trip included an auto-discharge (of waste tray contents) then I think more people might consider dropping that kind of money.

    just my 19,999 c

  • Lazy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shant3030 ( 414048 ) * on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:32AM (#5971864)
    Vaccuuming is a great exercise. For us fat, lazy computer geeks, we can actually benefit from doing it.
  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:35AM (#5971882)
    Seriously, this is something every guy wants and needs! Besides, I have promised my better half that when we are living together, I will take care of the vacuuming ;).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:39AM (#5971910)
    It's their only product that doesn't suck.

    Thank you. I'll be here all week.
  • Basic design flaw (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:41AM (#5971920) Journal
    Round robot.

    Rectangular rooms. Result: dirty corners.

  • MMM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Findel ( 663041 )
    I would like to see how this can deal with my stairs!! And what if I leave the charging unit down stairs while ol' trill is cleaning up - upstairs.
    • Re:MMM (Score:2, Funny)

      by JediTrainer ( 314273 )
      I would like to see how this can deal with my stairs!!

      The picture in my head resembles the Yoda fighting scene in Star Wars II... at least if it's starting from the top.
  • I can see how this might be useful in large open-plan areas (offices etc.). For that you would need an auto-emptying dust box though.

    For a normal-sized home though, I'd have thought the setup time - setting the thing going, laying the magnetic strips, emptying the (presumably small) dust box and kicking it when it gets stuck - would be similar to the amount of time it would take to vacuum the place yourself.
  • Five years ago... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by f97tosc ( 578893 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:46AM (#5971963)
    the CEO of Electrolux (Michael Trechov) visited my engineering school in Sweden and told us about this new cool product - the robot vacuum cleaner. He was using a prototype at home.

    I wonder what took them so long to go to market...

    Tor
    • Until the market really clamors for it it is still just some engineer's pipe dream.

      The thing to note, these engineers apparently had the bucks to get it done.

      Perhaps the real benefit is to make people think of new and more useful ways to employ robotic help around the house.

  • by TwP ( 149780 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:46AM (#5971967) Homepage
    . . . they built on top of rat brain cells? Like a rat, does it crawl into the walls to dump it's load of dust and dirt?
  • by lechuck80 ( 672996 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @09:56AM (#5972024)
    Hummm, My wife does the vacuming during the day. And I can't imagine plunking down more than $50 to have some little robot do it for her. (she would kick my ass for spending that kind of money).

    Besides, the only reason I would want one is if i could control it from work via internet and have it chase around the cats. (that would be great)

    • cat-chasing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:06AM (#5972571) Homepage
      For cat-chasing from your desk at work, I suggest getting one of the little plantraco rovers [plantraco.com], the internet control kit, and the wireless camera. Use webcam software and a cheap winTV vid cap card to stream video of what the rover "sees," and use the internet-connected controller to drive it around. They even have a demo of it where you can drive a rover at there office from your web browser here. [plantraco.com]

      • Yeah, that's fun and all if i wanted to *look* at the cats... but I was hoping to be able to suck up their tails and what-not.. Really convince them not to come back once we let them outside when we get home.
        • Re:cat-chasing (Score:2, Interesting)

          by raygundan ( 16760 )
          well, the rover does have a little laser-tag emitter on it for shooting other rovers. If you're handy with a soldering iron, pull the IR LED and stick an optocoupler or a relay on the leads, and you can hook that to whatever cat-torturing device you want! Small nerf gun? 80mm case fan? Tape recording of dog barking?

          Plenty of great ideas to experiment with, but the obvious thing to replace the IR LED with is a laser pointer.

          Of course, if you are truly ambitious in your cat-chasing expectations, you nee
  • Would it be possible to create a sub-classification at Slashdot to cover press releases like this? Sure, it's a link to an article about this product, but products like these things have been out a couple years now, so this is hardly news.

    Mod me a troll if you want, but this is an ad for a freaking two year old vaccuum, people. When did Ron Popeil become an editor here?

  • Toshiba-Japan's site has several cutesy flash animations demonstrating this device's other feature, the ability to be cute while snacking on your filth.

    Check out its stunning personality here [toshiba.co.jp]. It bleeps, bloops, and whines while cleaning, which makes it about fifty times as personable as I am while I'm doing my chores.

    This promotional site has been up for quite some time, so I had no idea it would take so long to get the Trilobite to market. Personally, I'd prefer a cuttlefish-like robot that swims a

  • so I can call it "ElectroTux!"

    . . . No, that would suck.

    The funnier the slashdot moderators find me, the more my friends and family think I have lost my mind. Perhaps slashdot is a government tool to preoccupy the insane?
  • The electrolux needs to be "told" where stairs are, while the Roomba has sensors to avoid plunging down a stairwell.

    However, the way the electrolux figures out a room sounds a little better than the Roomba...

    My question is - surely people are doing home versions of these? After watching the Roomba in action for a while in my own house I think I could come up with some better cleaning algorithms.

    Some thing I'd like see in a robo vacuum:

    1) Sturdier treads so it can over over tricky obstacles (like chair
  • The Electrolux Trilobite has been available in Sweden since 2001. Last year 15000 units were manufactured. For swedish-speaking readers, a page about the Trilobite is available at Svensk Industridesign [www.svid.se]. It's also a bit cheaper in Sweden, at 11869 SEK [kelkoo.com] (about £920, 1300 euros or $1500). For once, models are tested in Sweden. Even Ericsson [ericsson.se] hasn't been doing that for quite a while...
  • by zaqattack911 ( 532040 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:03AM (#5972527) Journal
    I wonder if I can sue the company if my cat needs therapy after a few weeks of this robot zooming around my floor.
  • Until a vacum cleaner can move furniture around like chairs and tables, what is the point? It will miss many places as it bounces off obstacles. Only a human (in this day and age) can move a chair temporarly, vacum and then put it back.

    Robot vacums will become mainstream when designer will allow them to be used as normal vacum cleaner. I do not want 2 vacum cleaners, only one. It could let it go automatically once in a while to clean the large surfaces, and at every 1 or 2 weeks, I would vacum thouroug
  • Noisy (Score:3, Informative)

    by neonstz ( 79215 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:10AM (#5972632) Homepage

    I checked out the Trilobite in the shop a few months ago, and the first thing that struck me was the noise. You don't want to stay in the same room while it is doing it's thing...

  • Yes, they registered a commonly used word/phase:

    From dictionary.reference.com

    3 entries found for Trilobite.
    trilobite Audio pronunciation of Trilobite ( P ) Pronunciation Key (trl-bt)
    n.

    Any of numerous extinct marine arthropods of the class Trilobita, of the Paleozoic Era, having a segmented body divided by grooves into three vertical lobes and found as fossils throughout the world.

    [New Latin Trilobts, former class name, from Greek trilobos, three-lobed : tri-, tri- + lobos, lobe.]trilobitic (-btk) a
  • And it fricking blew dead syphillis-having monkeys. Without a doubt the worst vacuum I ever had to use. You see, we had a long-haired dog with a penchant for shedding, so as a youngster I had to go over the carpets every day. I would never buy anything from that company every again...to me, this robot vacuum sounds like the housekeeping equivalent of "Agent Smith"!
  • Somebody call Tom Seleck [imdb.com], just in case.

    Dave
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Friday May 16, 2003 @12:28PM (#5973488) Journal
    Firstly, it should come out at night, and be silent. Since my house has all wooden floors, and no carpets, there are probably alternatives to suction motors that would be quieter and allow the thing to do a large house without recharging. Static electricity? Sticky rollers? Tiny little antennae that literally pick up each piece of dust?

    Secondly, it should digest and live off the dust, which is mainly human skin, so rich in protein. I'm thinking a small bacterial engine that can turn dust into glucose, and pass that onto a glucose fuel cell of some kind.

    Thirdly, should be really cheap. I don't want to have to take out my credit card each time I step on the cleaner by mistake. I'm thinking that the ideal model would actually be organic, which makes sense, given the bacterial engine, and so it could actually breed. Hey, why not?

    Forthly, I want a powerful AI engine that can avoid stairs and feet, and will search for dust where it's most prevelant, namely in corners and in those hard-to-reach areas.

    Fifthly, why not make it able to walk up walls... perhaps using those little sticky feet that pickup the dust so well.

    Lastly, since the model is small, it should package its collected dust (after bacterial digestion) into easy-to-sweep nodules. This will eliminate any need for dust bags, discharging stations, etc.

    Reviewing my design against the available models, I think the most practical solution would be to use standard breeding techniques combined with genetic engineering to create a species of super cockroaches that live off dust. There may be a small market acceptance problem, but I believe this can be overcome by finding a new name and a cute logo... how about "RoboRoach"?

    • From Bruce Sterling's 1985 book "Schismatrix" (highly recommended!): "One of the shipboard roaches woke Lindsay by nibbling his eyelashes. ... If it weren't for the roaches, the Red Consensus [space ship] would eventually smother in a moldy detritus of cast off skin and built up layers of sweated and exhaled efluvia. ... Roaches were a vital part of the spacecraft ecosystem, cleaning up crumbs of food, licking up grease. Roaches had haunted spacecraft almost from the beginning, too tough and adaptable to ki
  • by mattr ( 78516 ) <mattr&telebody,com> on Friday May 16, 2003 @12:34PM (#5973550) Homepage Journal
    I mentioned this in the last thread about Roomba, nevertheless Slashdot must decide that if a U.S. launch comes later the originator of a product idea must be playing catch-up.

    Anyway, October 2002 I showed the Trilobite actually working in a stylish living-room type setting, actually a lounge area we set up in the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo for a few weeks of events. Electrolux was a sponsor. It was made almost entirely by Electrolux, with some changes for the Japanese market provided by Toshiba (mainly electrical and marketing I believe).

    Here is a page [e-daimei.co.jp] in Japanese showing the Trilobite on sale for 268,000 yen. Not cheap for sure.

    The unit is astounding when you try it, it navigates around table legs and goes under sofas, and starts up and shuts down by itself (and docks itself too). One of the areas they wanted to improve was to make it quieter so that may have been done already. (the Japanese page says 65dB) It is kind of like an Aibo that actually does work for you. It also walks around you, not the other way around.

  • Of this post being moderated funny:

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=42669&cid=44 80 053

    http://www.three.co.uk/

  • We had one in the 'house of the future' as part of the IEE's Faraday Lecture. I was a presenter of this lecture and had to make this thing work on stage in front of 1500 people. All I can say is that it's the most unpredictable gadgets ever, it never did what it was meant to do. The battery life is pants, it hardly holds any 'dust'.

    It almost fell off the stage during one show...

    http://www.iee.org/Events/Lectrs/Faraday/2001/

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