Sunday, November 25, 2012


Neato's robot cleans the floors, works when we tell it to, and keeps the cats entertained.  It may be the best home appliance invention since the microwave oven.

Like other robotic vacuums, the Neato XV-11 combines a brush and suction collection system with battery-powered propulsion and hands-off navigation in a disc-shaped gadget. The robot draws power from a base station that sits against a wall and transfers power over matching metal bands.

When the Neato goes to work, it starts by finding the perimeter of a room, then methodically moves back and forth until it covers the entire surface. The device uses a laser to identify walls, furniture, and other obstacles and it create a room map that's stored in its memory. When we tested one, it hugged walls and vertical barriers, threaded its way around floor lamps, chairs and table legs, backed up when it met an obstruction and determined a route around the roadblock. It moved easily from rugs to hardwood to tile and didn't get tangled in carpet fringe or power cords. 

The robot can be contained in a designated area by closing doors or laying down a strip of boundary tape that Neato provides. You can place the robot in a room and let it go to work, or program it to wake up start cleaning on a schedule.

The Neato XV-11 costs about $400 at or from retailers including Sears, Macy's and Lowe's.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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