New iRobot gadget tackles fall fallout

The gutter-wrenching Looj remote-control robot gets rid of wet leaf build-up.

The Looj from iRobot

NEW YORK--Gadget-freak homeowners may never have to face the gunk of fall fallout ever again.

iRobot's CEO Colin Angle is expected to unveil two new robots at the DigitalLife 2007 consumer electronics show in New York on Thursday.

The Looj, which was accidentally leaked in August by the Federal Communications Commission Web site, is a remote-control robot that cleans out the gutters on the outside of a home.

Looj in action.

The $99 robot's mobile base was based on that of iRobot's military PackBot, only on a much smaller scale. The robot can be slid into a gutter and then driven by remote control. An auger drills into the mess of leaves and debris, while paddles scoop it out and fling it...we're not sure where. A small brush sweeps up any remaining crumbs.

"It's a safer, faster way of addressing that job that's otherwise neglected...It takes a nasty job and brings it to the domain of acceptable annoyance," iRobot CEO Colin Angle told CNET in an interview.

Millions of teenagers may be rejoicing that they no longer have to face the gunk of fall fallout, but someone is going to have to clean up the wet nastiness that gets flung to the ground.

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet,, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.



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