Smarbo: Toshiba Announces Roomba Competitor

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The Roomba just got new competition from Japan: Toshiba has announced [JP] a new cleaning robot today, the so-called Smarbo (which is probably short for “Smart Robot”). Just like its US counterpart, the Toshiba robot is primarily intended for use in households.

Toshiba built quite a few features into the robot, for example two CPUs (details unknown), a camera, and a set of 38 sensors (gyro, acceleration, range detection etc.). The company says that the Smarbo cleans an area of 100sqm in about 90 minutes and that electricity costs stand at just 2 yen ($0.03) for a room of that size.

Just like the Roomba, the Smarbo circumvents objects in its vicinity and returns to its charging station automatically after it’s done. Buyers can program the Smarbo in certain ways. For example, if they want a small area within a room cleaned thoroughly, they can choose the “spot mode” to make the robot circle only in a 1.5×1.5m square and then return to the charging station (see below).

The Smarbo is sized at 355×355×93mm, weighs 3.7kg and works at 52dB.

Toshiba is planning to start selling it in Japan (where the Roomba is available, too, by the way) on October 1 for $1,175 (including a remote control and the charging station).