I still think that vacuum cleaner robots are the first generation of household robots, and that they pave the way for more advanced robots in the future. Eventually, we will have Androids walking around the house, cleaning up, doing laundry and other chores while we sit down and relax. It will come at a price, but that is the case for everything in life.
Cocorobo is a new generation vacuum cleaner robot that is no longer a heartless machine trying its best to clean the room. While the cleaning is still its main function, it now comes with additional features and options that make it look less like a simple machine.
The vacuum cleaner speaks English, Japanese and Chinese, and while it ships with a limited amount of basic phrases, it is not the only thing that it can do besides cleaning carpets. The robot can be controlled by speech, by buttons on the robot, or a remote control.
The robots second interesting feature is the ability to take a photo snapshot of the room, and send it over to a cell phone. This could be interesting for home surveillance for instance, if the robot manages to stay online for extended periods of time. And if you are someone who loses their keys or other things underneath the bed or couch all the time, the robot can help you find them again as well. If your smartphone is connected to the robot, you can watch the room through the robots eyes.
The last feature is air purification, which the robot does automatically while moving around doing its cleaning chores.
Sharp’s Cocorobo will launch on the Japanese market later this month, with the likelihood that it will make its way to the U.S. and other countries eventually. The price is a bit high for my liking, as the cleaning robot is sold for roughly $1600 U.S Dollars. If you think that is a bit high, you could get the non-talking version of the Robot instead, which sells for $1100. It is not clear at this point in time if the cheaper model ships with a camera and air cleaning capabilities.