If the Roomba went to grad school

The UBOT is a smarter--but needier--vacuum bot

"Roombas" and "Scoobas" are fine for what they do, but--how shall we say this--they're kind of dumb. The "Microrobot UBOT," on the other hand, is kind of like a Roomba with a college degree.

Rather than randomly vacuum or scrub as it bumps its way about the house, the UBOT senses its target floor, sweeping and mopping at the same time in a single pass while avoiding duplicate cleaning. But just like some overeducated humans we know, it can correctly perform its duties only with the help of others--in this case, bar codes that are printed directly onto the floor boards, which the machine then reads.

If you do go through all the trouble to construct a support system that satisfies this hothouse flower, Appliancist says it will dutifully follow the markings back to its docking station upon completion of its tasks or if its four-hour battery needs recharging, whichever comes first. But if money is no issue, we would suggest skipping class and going with the brute force of a $170,000 cleaning monster from Japan.

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