CES 2013 – the best robots on show
Ecovacs Robotics Winbot 7
Tired of cleaning windows? Then the Winbot 7 could be your new best friend. Essentially a Roomba for fenestrations, it clings to vertical surfaces using suckers, zigzagging its way back and forth across windows and shower doors as it performs a three-stage washing process. Expected to cost around US$300 (£190) when it launches later this year.
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Lego’s robotics system has received an update that makes it compatible with iOS and Android phones. There’s a new version of the intelligent controller brick with an ARM9 processor, 64MB of RAM and an SD card slot to expand the 16MB of flash storage. There’s also a new app for building instructions that lets you view them in 3D, rotating and zooming around to make the whole process of putting your robotic creations together a lot more user-friendly. The EV3 gear will be available in the second half of 2013, and has been priced from US$350 (£220).
iRobot Mirra 530
Pool owners: take off those goggles and look over here at the Mirra 530 from iRobot, a droid that takes to the depths of your swimmin’ hole to clean it without the need for hoses, pumps or a connection to the pool’s filtration system. Able to pump and filter 70 gallons of water per minute, it’ll climb walls and stairs too. It won’t be cheap when it comes out in the spring: the US price is $1,300, which converts to around £810. Mind you, if you have a swimming pool then you’re probably not short of a few bob.
BeeWi Tank Bee
Something that should be a touch more affordable than the other robots here, the Tank Bee is a remote control tank that shoots infrared “bullets”, either at another Tank Bee or at a target provided. Oh, and the kicker is it’s controlled by your iOS or Android phone (with Windows Phone support on the way) rather than a crummy plastic remote. It won’t be available until the summer, however.
This giant robotic snake isn’t going to be available on a high street near you anytime soon, but nevertheless we thought it one of the more impressive mechanical beasts on show at this year’s CES. It’s based on an extinct but once very real “titanoboa” snake that died out some 60 million years ago.