LG’s New RoboKing Vacuum Can Now Explain Its Failures

A handy new self-diagnostic mode helps LG’s Roboking keep you up to date on everything that’s going wrong with it

1 min read
LG’s New RoboKing Vacuum Can Now Explain Its Failures

LG’s RoboKing series of robot vacuums may or may not be variations on the Roomba theme to the extent that they’re not allowed to be sold here in the United States, where Roomba is the undisputed king (queen?) and reigns with a tight fist and lots of patents. But we have to give credit to LG for thinking outside the box disc when it comes to introducing nifty features. For example, unlike the Roomba, Mint, or Neato XV-11, the RoboKing navigates (and maps its environment) using a pair of cameras that scan the ceiling and the floor, which is a pretty neat trick:

The latest version of the RoboKing, announced just yesterday, adds a self-diagnostic mode where the robot actually checks itself out and tells you what’s up. Push the diagnostic button, and the robot will give itself a 30 second shakedown cruise and then report back (in a sultry female voice, no less) with the status of 14 different components. No word on just exactly what it’ll tell you, but I imagine something like, “that awful noise I’m making is because I just tried to eat one of your socks; please remove it before I explode.”

We don’t have too much else to go on at this point beyond that for those of you fortunate enough to live somewhere with less stringent patent enforcement, the LG RoboKing VR6172LM will be available soon for the equivalent of about $730.

Via [ Akihabara News ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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