Toshiba Smarbo VC-RB100

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Toshiba Smarbo VC-RB100

Today Toshiba announced its very first robotic vacuum cleaner, the Smarbo VC-RB100. The robot looks just like a Samsung Navibot SR8855 from early 2010, and the specifications confirm the looks.

The Toshiba Smarbo VC-RB100 is a systematic vacuum cleaner robot with a mapping function. It uses accelerometers, gyro sensors, infrared distance sensors to register the movements of the robot, and the position of obstacles it met, and uses a camera facing the ceiling to confirm all these movements. Based the this information the robot can map out those parts of the area that it has been, avoiding wasting time cleaning the same spots several times. Unlike the mapping features of Neato XV-11 (or XV-15) that of the Toshiba Smarbo robot is relative. It only knows its position relative to its starting point (including the places that it has covered). When interrupted for any reason, it starts the cleaning cycle again from that position. Precise motion sensing and accurate feedback allows this robot to clean floors in straight parallel lines, and it cleans about 100 sqm (1076 sqft) during a 90 minutes cycle.

Sales of this Japan only model starts in October 1, 2011, and Toshiba expects to sell 5000 each month (the Japanese market of robotic vacuum cleaners is expected to be 100 thousand units in this fiscal year, while 170 thousand next year). According to TechCrunch, the robot will cost $1,175, what seems rather high, knowing that the same Samsung model is on sale for €330 in Europe.

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