Sharp Cocorobo RX-V200 vacuum cleaner robot

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Sharp Cocorobo RX-V200

Sharp has updated the flagship model of its Japan only robotic vacuum cleaner line. The most notable novelty of the Sharp Cocorobo RC-V200 robot is the built in infrared remote control that is capable of controlling other IR devices in the house. These devices can now be turned on and off from a smart phone even if we are not at home.

This feature was also available on the new robot's predecessor, but it was provided by an optional add-on, and it was only compatible with Sharp's own appliances. The new model can learn the commands of other remotes, allowing the robot to control third party appliances as well. Remote access is possible through the 802.11b/g compatible wifi adapter that is also used to forward the still images taken by the robot's built in camera.

The available internet access provides an opportunity for cloud based voice recognition. This allows the robot to process voice commands like asking for weather forecast. The robot's own voice recognition understands Japanese, English and Chinese, but it can use some cloud services as well with unknown capabilities.

The shape of the Cocorobo RX-V200 resembles that of the smaller RX-V90, so it is smaller than its predecessor. The 30.4 cm diameter (12 in) allows the robot to go into smaller, tighter areas such as between chair legs. The device uses ultrasonic range finders instead of IR sensors to measure the distance to obstacles, but despite the advanced sensors it is still a randomly moving robot. According to Sharp's press material it uses distance and angles traveled between obstacles to get an idea about the size and shape of the room, just like iRobot's iAdapt system.

The included docking station can charge the battery of the robot in about 4 hours, and the robot can run for approximately 100 minutes on that power. This allows the RX-V200 to thoroughly clean about 50 sq m (538 sq ft) floor area of a 70 sq m (753 sq ft) flat. Although the main task of the robot is to clean the floor, the 0.1 l (3.38 fl oz) dust bin seems to be way to small for this task, especially when similar robots come with 0.3-0.6 l (10-20 fl oz) bins.

The Sharp Cocorobo RX-V200 will be available from December 5 in Japan but sales prices is not yet known. Some sources expect it to be around 130.000 yen (~$1300) what is awful lot for a floor cleaning robot.

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