iRobot patents 'Celestial Navigation System' for the Roomba

While Roomba's automated approach to floor cleaning might've been novel for its day, its random bumbling is starting to look dated, particularly in comparison to laser-guided, ultra smart vacuums like the Neato XV-11. Well, iRobot is naturally not going to take this lying down, and the company has received a patent for a new "Celestial Navigation System" based on IR beacons bounced off walls and ceilings that the Roomba can track and calculate its position from. It doesn't sound as fancy as Neato's completely self-contained system, and it'll require the setup of multiple beacons throughout the house to make the bot self-sufficient, but we're guessing it requires less processing and gadgetry on board to pull off -- which hopefully means Roomba can stuff this into bots cheaper than Neato's $400 XV-11. Mint, which was supposed to ship this summer from Evolution Robotics, uses a similar system to the one iRobot is proposing and has a rumored price of under $250.