Ever thought the Roomba just wasn't intelligent enough? If so, the new NavibotTM from Samsung could be just the home cleaning droid you're looking for.
This 18in diameter circular robot incorporates an upward facing camera shooting at 30fps and multiple IR sensors round its edges, which it uses to actually map out and learn the layout of a room. Once stored in its memory, the robot then plots out the most efficient route to clean your floor. If it senses it's running out of juice, it will return to its docking station to recharge then carry on where it left off.
Helping the NavibotTM out is the Virtual Guard which lets you either block the hoover from passing a certain point - say the border of one 'room' in an open plan arrangement - or block it until the NavibotTM has finished cleaning the area bounded by the Virtual Guard.
You can also take direct control yourself via the remote or leave it to its own devices using the Auto mode. Max mode is the same as Auto except that it goes over everything twice while Spot lets you place the cleaner precisely where you want it and it will continually cover the same area. You can also set the robot to do its thing at a certain time to keep disturbance to a minimum.
Two inward rotating brushes help the NavibotTM reach into the corners and direct the detritus into the main rotor while the sprung rubber wheels should cope with most conventional home flooring situations. That said, all the usual caveats for this sort of cleaner do apply: it's of limited power, has a very small capacity, does take a while to get the job done, and can't cope with stairs.
Available imminently, the NavibotTM can be yours for €399 if you want the conventionally buttoned version with one Virtual Guard or €499 if you want the touch sensitive buttoned version with two Virtual Guards. Expensive? Yes. Superfluous? Almost definitely. Do we still want one? Of course.