Gadget lovers with dusty homes could be putting robot vacuums even cooler than that Roomba on their holiday wish lists.
The $399 Neato Botvac D3 Connected and $599 Botvac D5 Connected vacuums use lasers to autonomously make their way around your home. Using technology similar to LiDAR remote sensing, which is used to help autonomous cars navigate around obstacles, the Botvac could actually be more efficient than the Roomba and other similar robot vacuums.
Instead of following a somewhat random path across a room like the Roomba, the Botvac's lasers find a room's perimeter and moves back and forth across it. The vacuum, controlled using Android and iOS devices including the Apple Watch, can run autonomously or via remote control. , suggests a recent review of the device by Apple Insider.
But as with other robot vacuums the Botvac may be a hassle for you if your floor tends to be cluttered, or you have a lot of power cables, pet food and water bowls or tasseled rugs. Neato recommends removing objects from your floor, lifting all power cables and tucking tassels under rugs to keep them from getting caught up in the Botvac. And exposure to water could be the death of your Botvac.
And because of the Botvac's use of lasers to navigate around a room, if your couch or other furniture sags too close to the floor, the robot could see it as an obstruction and cause it to get stuck, according to Neato. In order to prevent that from happening, the company suggests raising the entire piece of furniture or putting a box in the sagging area so that the Botvac will go around it.
While the Neato Botvac probably isn't as convenient as it seems on the surface, based on a job ad on the company's website, we expect to see Neato's devices get more impressive, but not likely before this holiday shopping season.
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Althea Chang is Associate Director of Content Development for Consumer Reports and was previously a Senior Writer for Tom's Guide, covering mobile devices, health and fitness gadgets and car tech.