iRobot launches gutter-cleaning and 'virtual visiting' robots

iRobot announced two new products today, adding to their already pioneering line of home robots.Looj120.jpg

First up is the Looj, a gutter-cleaning bot. It's remote-controlled; that is, a user puts it up in a gutter, steps down the ladder, and from there directs its movement along a gutter, moving both forward and backward. From the website:

iRobot Looj uses a powerful 3-stage auger, spinning at 500 RPM, to break up sludge and clogs, lift out debris and brush your gutters clean. The hard plastic disruptors break apart clogs, while natural rubber ejectors lift and throw the debris from your gutters, finally, sturdy polypropylene bristles brush your gutters clean.

Gutter cleaners are all well and good, but I am REALLY excited about this next one: ConnectR, the Virtual Visiting robot. Thus spake iRobot:

ConnectR enables real-time virtual visits over the Internet. Equipped with high-quality audio and a video camera, the robot is located on-site in the home of the â''hostâ'' party. Using a computer keyboard, mouse or joystick, the remote (â''visitingâ'') party can drive the robot around and interact with those on-site, virtually participating in activities at home or wherever the device is located (for example, in the home of your grandchildren). The on-site host party can also direct the robotâ''s movements with a remote control.

stayconnected.jpgThe Looj is available now, but ConnectR isn't out yet -- and robot aficionados have the opportunity to be part of a pilot program this year. They'll choose pilot users from a pool of applicants here -- sign up!

Looj currently sells from $99 to $169, depending on the accessories. ConnectR will be $200 for those involved with the pilot program, and "just under $500" once it's on the market.

Images from irobot.com

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