iRobot's mission to create the "robot home" got a whole lot more fleshed out this afternoon at the company's DigitalLife keynote. The general idea is to get usable tech into any and every home -- not just for the nerds, not like the Jetsons. "A little boring, but fantastically useful robots." Obviously iRobot has been attempting this a while with its Roomba and related lines, but the new ConnectR and Looj bots really flesh out that vision. On the boring end of things, the Looj is a remote-controlled bot that can clean up to 60 feet of gutter in 10 minutes. It rolls through your gutter tank-style and spits out the debris, and then rolls back to you. It's waterproof for easy cleaning, and is available today for $99. The ConnectR takes a whole new angle for iRobot, offering telepresence instead of the usual drudgery removal. You can "virtually visit" friends and family by controlling the WiFi-connected bot remotely, with live video, audio, controls and sensor data. The camera tilts and zooms, and has a zoom mode high resolution enough for reading text. You can transmit your voice through the bot, and control an LED light to convey mood. ConnectR launches next year for $499, and will be available in a pilot program for $199 to select beta-testing users.
iRobot debuts ConnectR and Looj home bots