LAS VEGAS – Roomba, watch out. A South Korean vacuuming robot is looking to clean up after you.
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Microrobot Co. Ltd. is showing off a round, cake-shaped cleaning bot, the Ubot, that has sensors that prevent it from bumping into walls and furniture and a floor pattern reader that enables it to clean around furniture and make sure no spot gets left behind.
"It knows where it has cleaned so it doesn't go over the cleaned area," said employee Sang-Won Kim. "Say there's a piece of furniture there. It will learn it and it will go around it every time."
The robot has been selling in South Korea since late 2005. Unlike the Roomba, it only works on hard floors and uses a sensor to read ultraviolet ink symbols imprinted on the flooring. Currently, the company works with a manufacturer that makes the special floors. The Ubot can also be remote-controlled.
Some South Korean developers have included the Ubot in new condo units along with pre-made floors, Kim said.
The company's subsidiary, Microrobot USA Inc., is aiming to sell its product in the United States for about $1,000, roughly three times what it costs to buy some Roombas, which are made by iRobot Corp. The uBot was showed off at the International Consumer Electronics Show.