Tech Toys 360: Neato Robotics

You take an infrared laser, a centrifugal compression impeller, and a robot with a smidge of artificial intelligence. You put them in the hands of business school students. Add $25,000 in seed money. And what do you get?

A vacuum cleaner that doesn’t need you.

The Neato Robotics Vacuum is a programmable home-cleaning device that was introduced as the result of a business plan competition at Stanford University in California. It will sweep up a room, and then redock itself in its charging station. You can even program it to work while you’re away. Everyday, if you like.

First placed on the market in 2010, the Neato now comes in four models, including one especially for pet owners. The company expects to release two more models this month, the Signature XV and the Signature Pro.

Unlike other robotic vacuums, the Neato scans, maps, and makes a plan before it starts. It knows about obstacles and gets under the furniture. The company claims it can perform household chores as effectively as people. But I suspect it might vacuum more effectively than a few of us.

Neato Robotics is a PTC CAD customer, and its vacuum was featured in a recent episode of Tech Toys 360—a Velocity Discovery channel TV show featuring “vehicles, gadgets, and gear.”

“That’s all very well,” I hear some of you say. “But what is a centrifugal compression impeller?” It’s all explained here in the Tech Toys 360 segment:

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