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Dyson to spend $8 million on robotics research lab

Robot vacuums and household 'chore' robots might be on Dyson's horizon.

The Dyson DC40 Origin
Colin West McDonald/CNET

Dyson introduced a robot vacuum prototype in the early 2000s, but its founder, James Dyson, wasn't satisfied with the result and the bot never made it to production. We haven't heard much robotics talk from the company since then, but the recent announcement that Dyson plans to invest $8 million in a robotics lab confirms the company sees all kinds of potential in domestic helper hardware.

The new Dyson Robotics Laboratory will be located at Imperial College London and headed up by Andrew Davison, Professor of Robot Vision at the Department of Computing. Professor Davison's initial team will consist of 15 researchers and engineers whose work will center around advanced sensing, interpretation of environment, and robot vision and interaction. An adaptable robot minion to do our bidding? Yes, please.

The official press release quotes company founder James Dyson saying, "My generation believed the world would be overrun by robots by the year 2014. We now have the mechanical and electronic capabilities, but robots still lack understanding -- seeing and thinking in the way we do. Mastering this will make our lives easier and lead to previously unthinkable technologies."

The Dyson DC41 Animal Complete Colin West McDonald

Dyson hasn't given too many specifics, but the lab will be studying robot vacuums and household bots. We really can't wait to see what emerges from Dyson's partnership with Imperial College. We're also very curious to see if a robot race will ensue given Google's recent purchase of robotics company Boston Dynamics.