iRobot intros next-gen bomb-defusing PackBot

iRobot may be best known for its innocuous Roomba and Scooba robots, but there is another, less-talked about side to the company -- one where robots face far more perilous tasks than wall-to-wall shag carpeting. We're talking, of course, about the company's line of PackBot robots, who thanklessly perform reconnaissance in hostile areas and disarm explosives so humans don't have to -- sadly, not always making it out in onepiece. It looks like at least some of the PackBot currently serving could soon be relieved of duty, however, with the company introducing a new-and-improved model, the PackBot 510. Set to begin shipping in April of this year, the new bot is said to be 30 percent faster than the current generation model, boasting twice the gripping strength and able to drag larger objects and lift twice the weight of its predecessor. What's more, the bot has been outfitted with a new hand controller that the company says has been modeled after video game controllers, supposedly reducing the amount of training needed to operate the robot. While most of you would indeed likely get the knack of it pretty quickly, you'll no doubt have a significantly harder time actually getting your hands one of 'em.