Roomba meets Robocop

Monster vacuum does the work of two people

If the "Roomba" and "Scooba" had a parent--a morbidly obese one--it might well be this cleaning monster from Japan. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry named it the "2006 Robot of the Year" for its vacuuming prowess, which spanned "3,000 square meters in four hours on a single charge," according to Plastic Bamboo.

You won't find one of these behind the counter at Walgreen's, though: Co-creators Sumitomo and Fuji Heavy Industries put its cost at $170,000, for replacing the work of two full-time humans--and without coffee breaks. But as Japan marches (or rolls) relentlessly toward a human-free society, machines like this might one day become frighteningly common.

Featured Video

Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?

Cities are full of cars like the Subaru XV that can drive off-road but will never see any challenging terrain. What drives us to buy cars with these abilities when we don't really need them most of the time?

by Drew Stearne