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Robotics The Almighty Buck Technology

Dyson Invests £5 Million To Create 'Intelligent Domestic Robots' 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-clean-you-with dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "James Dyson only releases products he is 100% happy with, which is why, despite nearly a decade of research in the area, his company has yet to release a robotic vacuum cleaner. To help drive research forward, he will invest £5 million in a joint research lab at Imperial College London which will focus on 'vision systems,' which Dyson hopes will help create the next generation of 'intelligent domestic robots.'" Last week Dyson proposed that the UK government offer monetary incentives to students with an interest and aptitude in science.
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Dyson Invests £5 Million To Create 'Intelligent Domestic Robots'

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  • Do not want. (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Shinu (1196897)

    User here on both desktop and Android tablet. Will write about the tablet experience, as that is the medium through which I browse Slashdot more often lately.

    My stock 1st gen JB Nexus 7 and CM11 HTC Sensation choke when browsing the beta. I'm absolutely baffled by reports that the beta (and the current modern, non-classic site) run smoothly on moderately aged hardware. The experience is in no way seamless; it is utterly painful.

    First, there is a delay between my trying to scroll down/up and the scroll actua

    • Re:Do not want. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot on Monday February 10, 2014 @01:09PM (#46211049) Homepage

      We're aware of how poorly nested comments render on small screen widths. It's one of the things we have to fix.

      FWIW, we do have a dedicated mobile version, and cases like this are one of the reasons the classic site is still around, and will be around for a long time yet.

      I'm sorry it's not usable on your devices yet, but we're working to finish it, and definitely not ignoring those use-cases.

    • by CnlPepper (140772)

      Was it really worth breaking your screen over though? :)

      • My first thought was that he was blaming beta for breaking his screen. Kinda like the earlier story about Dell insisting that VLC broke the speakers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Make sure the "domestic" robots wear nice fembot maid gear and have "plenty of suction".

    They'll go over big in Japan.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Working hard to solve non-existent problems that any reasonable human being doesn't give two craps about. Unless you live in a 60,000 sq. ft. mansion, in which case you already have "vision system vacuum cleaners": they're called indentured illegal immigrants.

    In the meantime, the rest of use in our 600 sq. ft. urban condos made of ersatz materials can easily vacuum the damn place ourselves in 5 minutes. It's not a big deal, it's not a problem that urgently needs solving.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Viol8 (599362)

      It technology didn't try and solve problems that don't really exist then most of us would be out of a job :o)

      Seriously - in a western society where everyone is well fed and healthy and has access to 24/7 entertainment there is nothing vital that (non health related) technology or science can add to our existence - its all toys, gadgets and gizmos that are a brief amusement until they get tossed in landfill and then we all go out and buy the next piece of crap.

      Welcome to the consumerism - the 21st century so

      • by rmstar (114746) on Monday February 10, 2014 @11:06AM (#46210185)

        Seriously - in a western society where everyone is well fed and healthy and has access to 24/7 entertainment there is nothing vital that (non health related) technology or science can add to our existence - its all toys, gadgets and gizmos that are a brief amusement until they get tossed in landfill and then we all go out and buy the next piece of crap.

        That's not entirely true. There is a lot of cancer to be cured, and cured painlessly. Having a longer period of livable life would be very desirable, which includes delaying decrepitude as well as making old age more livable. There is a lot of sientific advance possible and desirable in those areas.

        A piece of robot kit able to navigate a typical human dwelling would be a fantastic achievement upon which a lot could be built, not just vacuum cleaners. That said, I don't believe that you can make breakthroughs happen just by sprinkling money on scientists, especially a lump sum like this 5 million pounds.

        • by Viol8 (599362)

          "There is a lot of cancer to be cured, and cured painlessly"

          Which part of "non health related" didn't you understand?

          "A piece of robot kit able to navigate a typical human dwelling would be a fantastic achievement upon which a lot could be built, not just vacuum cleaners"

          Like what? Something to care for the elderly? Newflash - we already have them - they're called nurses.

          The point of machines is to do things we *can't* do , such as run at 70 mph or fly at 30K feet or add up a million numbers in a nanosecond

          • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Monday February 10, 2014 @12:25PM (#46210773) Journal

            Humans wash dishes pretty damned well, but dishwashers are pretty popular despite this. Labour saving devices and appliances to do things we can do, but find boring, are pretty popular things.

            And yes - something to help care for the elderly. We have nurses but they are so expensive that only the rich can afford to have them to care for them in their own home. A robot that can help out with various tasks can mean an elderly person of normal means can retain their independence for a bit longer at their own home, instead of being sent to an expensive nursing home where in many cases they get treated like dirt.

            The point of machines is not just to do things we can't do, but to do things we don't like doing, or is expensive for a human to do.

          • by cellocgw (617879)

            But what is the point in a machine that simply replaces something a humans already do almost perfectly

            You ever hear of a thing called an "assembly line" ? Rather a lot of people are in fact *happy* to retrain for a job which does NOT entail repeating a boring action 500 times a day, week upon week, year after year.

            Or at the other extreme: people can fly a plane almost perfectly. Now explain why there shouldn't be autopilots.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            But what is the point in a machine that simply replaces something a humans already do almost perfectly?

            Because most humans don't *want* to do it perfectly? I could gather wood for a fire to cook my turkey for dinner, but whythefuck would I do that, when I can flick on the stove and have it do the work for me? You just hand-waved about 90% of the western world. How about one simple example: What is the point in a machine that simply replaces floor traders that can buy and sell on the exchange almost perfectly?

      • Seriously?

        I mean I'm sure I'll hate beta as much as the next old git (I've not tried it), but this it taking ludditism to a whole new level on a tech site. Seriously they're building robots. ROBOTS.

        With AI. Real AI that solves a REALLY FUCKING HARD problem.

        And you're all dismissing it as consumerist crap.

        Please return your nerd card. It has been revoked.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Oh my god. Robots. They're building robots. Woopeee. You mean a cart with a vacuum cleaner and some RC toy grade wheels and motors? Yes, they're solving a REALLY HARD problem. But for what purpose?

          And who cares? My brain and eyes and arms ALREADY solve this REALLY HARD problem, shouldn't engineering focus on actual problems?

      • by locopuyo (1433631)
        There are places where the quality of life doesn't involve Itty-bitty living space.
    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday February 10, 2014 @10:59AM (#46210151) Journal
      I can vacuum myself but I'd prefer a robot if it did a good job. In my old apartment, a Roomba did a decent job of keeping the place free of cat hairs etc; the only problem was that its battery was crap (even the new Roombas still use NiMH batteries). It's nice to come home to a clean house instead of having to vacuum after a day of work.

      I wonder what Dyson will come up with this time. He's not that good at inventing new stuff; none of his flagship products (the cyclone vacuum, the Air Blade dryer, the bladeless fan) were invented by him. But he is good at packaging them into usable products of decent quality.
      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday February 10, 2014 @11:36AM (#46210433)

        He's not that good at inventing new stuff; none of his flagship products (the cyclone vacuum, the Air Blade dryer, the bladeless fan) were invented by him.

        Oh FFS, why are slashdotters so deluded about what inventions are and what inventors do. No product inventor creates something from first principles. They all use existing technology. It's how that technology is applied to something new that makes an invention.

        Dyson made the first bagless cyclone vac. If you think that's not true, you have to explain why the other vac companies had to wait for the expiration of Dyson't patents before they could make their competitor bagless cyclone vacs.

        Making the first bagless cyclone vac is invention. Regardless of the fact that elements of it existed in other devices before.

        • He's the Steve Jobs of the vacuum world. He takes what other people have done and packages them up nicely enough for an insanely popular consumer product. Sure, it's not the ugly guy in his garage kind of innovation that a lot of people around here would like to imitate, but it's the kind of innovation that pushes the world forward.

          • by Agent0013 (828350)
            I don't know about him being the Steve Jobs of vacuums. Maybe he took some principles that were in use previously, but he did have to refine them quite a bit to get them to work in the vacuum. The original cyclone filter was used to remove sawdust from the air in lumber mills. He had to make thousands of versions over several decades before he got a vacuum that worked. That sounds a little more involved that simply taking something that's already been done and put it into a vacuum.
        • Dyson made the first bagless cyclone vac.

          No he didn't. Cyclonic separators are nearly 100 years old. They have been commonly used for industrial vacuums and central vacs before Dyson came around. He may have some patents on implementation variations but the real reason why the competition waited is because the home appliance industry is slow to adapt to "new" technologies if they can continue to sell old products for a profit. They aren't accustomed to 6-month product cycles. Witness how long it took for electronic controls to replace mechanical t

          • They have been commonly used for industrial vacuums and central vacs before Dyson came around.

            I'm aware of those and neither is what we're talking about here.

            He may have some patents on implementation variations but the real reason why the competition waited is because the home appliance industry is slow to adapt to "new" technologies if they can continue to sell old products for a profit.

            Completely wrong. Companies like Hoover and Electrolux were losing massive market share to Dyson, and as soon as Dyson's patents expired, they released their own competitors.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Actually Dyson simple scaled down the bagless cyclonic vacuum which was sitting in his own workshop and put it in wheels. Invention is a word applied only due to the technicality that his existing system wasn't mobile, that he received a patent for it however is ludicrous. Same with his attempts to patent the bladeless fan, you know the one invented by Toshiba in the 80s. He submitted the application several times before getting a parent awarded based on a slight change in outlet diameter. This man is NOT a

          • "This man is NOT an inventor." - Correct. Dyson is an engineer, not an inventor. If you check his website he has a job title of "Chief Engineer"
          • Thank you for demonstrating the exact slashdotter misconception of invention that I wrote about.

            As I said no one invents from scratch. Everything has precursors. But the Dyson baglass cyclone vac is not a simple scale down and adding or wheels as you claim. And the patentable part of the "bladeless" fan is not a matter of outlet diameter, but a new physics principle that was not used in the Toshiba fan.

            • by thegarbz (1787294)

              a) False by Dyson's own admission he scaled down the dust separation system next to his workbench. The only reason it took him 100 goes at it is because he didn't understand the dyanimcs involved, shame since cyclonic separation has been used for at least 100 years.

              b) False by firstly by the fact his US patent is flat out not accepted in several countries, and that the patent was rejected by the IPO as not being original. But hey I don't need to convince you of this, you just need to look at the patents you

              • You're talking like a hater. Past experience shows it's a waste of time engaging. I've made the point. You are welcome to your opinion regardless of the fact you are wrong.

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday February 10, 2014 @02:11PM (#46211505) Homepage
        As somebody with Kids, I can tell you why this doesn't work. Because half the trouble with vacuuming is cleaning up all the stuff that you don't want vacuumed up in the first place. Sure you could just suck up all the Lego bricks in the vacuum, but something going to clog it, and then it won't be picking up anything. That, and the kids will start crying. This is the same problem that I have with dishwashers. By the time you sufficiently rinsed the dishes that you're assured that the dishwasher won't leave any food on the dish which will be there forever after it's baked on by the dry cycle, you might as well have washed the dishes by hand.
        • Because half the trouble with vacuuming is cleaning up all the stuff that you don't want vacuumed up in the first place.

          You have to do that either way. But you might find the kids are keener to tidy up for the robot than for you.

          Sure you could just suck up all the Lego bricks in the vacuum, but something going to clog it, and then it won't be picking up anything.

          With the Roomba, that does happen. And the brick either doesn't get swept up, gets into the hopper, or jams the brush, and so stops the Roomba, awaiting your attention. At worst the vaccing won't be completed that day, and will get done tomorrow instead.

          Either way, no big deal.

          This is the same problem that I have with dishwashers. By the time you sufficiently rinsed the dishes that you're assured that the dishwasher won't leave any food on the dish which will be there forever after it's baked on by the dry cycle, you might as well have washed the dishes by hand.

          Either you have OCD, or a bad dishwasher.

      • Dyson is an engineer, not an inventor. If you check his website he has a job title of "Chief Engineer"
    • Ah, one of those "faster horse" types, I see...

    • So there's only two types of home? 60,000 sq. ft. mansion, and 600 sq. ft. urban condos.

      600 sq. ft. urban condos made of ersatz materials can easily vacuum the damn place ourselves in 5 minutes

      2 sq. foot per second? Including getting around all the furniture? I don't think so. Heck, getting the vac out, uncoiling the wire, moving the wire to various sockets, and then coiling it and putting the vac away is going to take half of your 5 minutes.

      Roomba have proved that the day to day vacuuming is more easily, and more thoroughly done by a robot. They are reasonably popular.

      (I say more thoroughly done because they

    • Working hard to solve non-existent problems that any reasonable human being doesn't give two craps about. Unless you live in a 60,000 sq. ft. mansion, in which case you already have "vision system vacuum cleaners": they're called indentured illegal immigrants.

      In the meantime, the rest of use in our 600 sq. ft. urban condos made of ersatz materials can easily vacuum the damn place ourselves in 5 minutes. It's not a big deal, it's not a problem that urgently needs solving.

      I live in a roughly 1600 sq ft (150 sq m) house. Unfortunately, alone, at this point (I have reasons to stay for the time being). This is not in a North American or European locale, so your mileage may vary.

      Cleaning the place is a b***tch and takes most of a weekend. Therefore, I do not do it too regularly, only when the dust is not ignorable any longer :-(.

      Hiring the local version of the III has been an option. Then again, in my locale, crime seems to be a slightly greater problem than in the US/EU, and

      • I am somewhat similar situation 1500 sqft house that I live on my own. Sure cleaning the entire house takes a good portion of the day (specially when I have a messy pet) but vacuuming 1500 sqft doesn't take much longer than 10 minutes.. I assume that since you are by yourself in a 1500 sqft then like me, you probably don't use a couple of your rooms. (I have 3 empty rooms I do not use), so I only vacuum them once a month maybe even longer since not much dust gets in them. Main floor I vacuum the most at t
    • https://xkcd.com/1232/ [xkcd.com]

      s/Exploring other planets/building cool stuff/

    • There are many things a robot might do for an elderly person - dispense meds, billing records, food prep, Monitoring (is anyone lying on the floor), Music, Blood Glucose tests, Putting on socks, shoes, initialing connections via skype or H.264 to family members, technology assist... where does it stop?
    • We can vacuum ourselves, but don't want to. I can also grow my own vegetables, but I opt not to do so either.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Monday February 10, 2014 @10:33AM (#46210003)

    He had one big hit with a bagless vacuum cleaner and he's been dining out on that every since. I'm not convinced he's really the man to usher in the next generation of AI.

    Aside from that, from what I've read in interviews he really has next to know knowledge of how normal people think or act since he seems to be of the opinion that everyone will be blissfully happy being put out of work by a robot.

    Yes , I know , luddites etc , but you can't always generate new jobs to replace old ones that have succummed to tech - at some point you're going to put a lot of people out of a job and then what?
    And don't someone come up with the BS about everyone will sit around in blissful nirvana writing poetry or music or coding or go kayaking all day. It ain't going to happen.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      He had one big hit with a bagless vacuum cleaner and he's been dining out on that every since. I'm not convinced he's really the man to usher in the next generation of AI.

      Hey now, give him time. He'll need a lot more vacuum cleaner money to start dismantling the outer planets to build his sphere.

    • by guru42101 (851700)
      The fans work surprisingly well. I have one that I use to direct the heat from the fireplace to other parts of the house.
    • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday February 10, 2014 @11:11AM (#46210225)

      That "big hit" was pretty damned big, and he's had a lot of other cool inventions. They might not be so visible to you if you haven't looked up his product line. Dyson also came up with a better hand-dryer and he's even topped it with one with the hand-dryer AT the faucet. I really like the way the guy thinks. He has the ability to drop all preconceived notions about technology and start from scratch.

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        " Dyson also came up with a better hand-dryer and he's even topped it with one with the hand-dryer AT the faucet"

        Ah , of course! *Obviously* anyone who comes up with a new dryer and connects it to the plumbing is the #1 go-to man to develop bleeding edge AI! Watch out all those teams at MIT and Harvard and elsewhere who've been working on this problem for decades - our Jim will have it sorted as soon as he's come up with his wall mounted potato peeler.

        • by ranton (36917) on Monday February 10, 2014 @11:37AM (#46210437)

          " Dyson also came up with a better hand-dryer and he's even topped it with one with the hand-dryer AT the faucet"

          Ah , of course! *Obviously* anyone who comes up with a new dryer and connects it to the plumbing is the #1 go-to man to develop bleeding edge AI! Watch out all those teams at MIT and Harvard and elsewhere who've been working on this problem for decades - our Jim will have it sorted as soon as he's come up with his wall mounted potato peeler.

          Are you kidding with this? He isn't using this money to pay himself to solve the problem alone. He is spending it on hiring those software engineers from MIT and Harvard and elsewhere who've been working on this problem for decades.

          Anyone willing to spend money to fund this research is a good thing. Any time that money is spent by a company with a good track record of creating innovative products is even better.

        • Ah , of course! *Obviously* anyone who comes up with a new dryer and connects it to the plumbing is the #1 go-to man to develop bleeding edge AI!

          You do realise Dyson doesn't do all the invention personally? That researching in AI involves hiring AI researchers, not working out the AI himself. Hence this news story - investing in a university to have them do some of the required research.

          Watch out all those teams at MIT and Harvard

          As opposed to the teams at Imperial College London that Dyson is investing in? Hope they read past the first sentence of a summary.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        was pretty damned big
        I had 3 different vacuums from 3 different companies. I was not very happy with the dirt retrieval of any of them. One even managed to plug itself up every time I used it. The dyson blew them all away. The only one that came close was the way overpriced kirby I inherited from someone else and that is very arguable. Vacuum cleaners wanted to goto a razor blade mentality. 10-15 dollars for a set of paper bags? (really?) Dyson changed that.

        At the time...

        Now they are pushing nearly

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        If you're talking about the jet hand driers then Mitsubishi may have something to say about your use of the word "invented". Dyson has yet to invent anything. He has refined many things but never come up with anything original.

      • Air dryers have been proven to remove far less bacteria than paper towels. For this reason I try to avoid those Dyson dryers, as invariably my hand comes into contact with them when I use them.
        As for Dyson vaccum cleaners, have a look at the reliability and performance scores they get compared to other quality brands such as Miele.

        Don't believe the hype.

    • And don't someone come up with the BS about everyone will sit around in blissful nirvana writing poetry or music or coding or go kayaking all day. It ain't going to happen.

      And don't someone come up with the BS about it ain't going to happen without even bothering to state a reason.

    • And don't someone come up with the BS about everyone will sit around in blissful nirvana writing poetry or music or coding or go kayaking all day. It ain't going to happen.

      Theoretically speaking, if you could get civilization to be sufficiently advanced with technology where we have no concern about energy and all our needs are met, you could have a "Star Trek" civilization without a problem.

      However, the problem with this is between utopia and society today you have a painful growing period where there is a lot of trouble in such a transition.

      Additionally, it could be such a society first requires a massive war / famine / natural disaster to get rid of the excess humanity so

    • by mangu (126918)

      And don't someone come up with the BS about everyone will sit around in blissful nirvana writing poetry or music or coding or go kayaking all day.

      No, of course not. They will sit around and watch TV.

      How many people have the ability and the inclination to write poetry or music or code anyhow?

    • Even though the bagless vacuum cleaner is a big seller, I still think that it is a stupid concept. Yes your bagged vacuum cleaner does start to loose suction if the bag gets full (or even if the bag is not entirely full of dirt and larger particles.) That is because the bag is also the hepa filter. If your vacuum is loosing suction it is because the bag's built in hepa filter is getting clogged. In that case, just change the #$%@#$ filter! They aren't that expensive. Oh and by the way the bag doubles as a t

      • Dyson is an engineer who improves current technology and he's improved the vacuum cleaner. Your complaints are trivial nitpicking ones, the bagless model outperforms the bagged models by a long way and in every way. If he did say he's improved Tesla motor design, he probably has because to use a Telsa motor made in Telsa's time in this day and age would be inefficient, everything made in this world gets improved on, its called "progress". Wind your neck in and get a perspective on life
        • I am looking at last month's consumer reports right now. They rated vacuum cleaners. The best bagless vacuum only scores as well as maybe a middle of the road (and cheaper) bagged vacuum. So no, I would say he did not really improve the vacuum cleaner much. All he did was invent a gimick for people who don't know that you are not supposed to reuse the vacuum cleaner bag!

          I can't find the commercial on youtube. However I recall his claim was that Tesla's design was around for ~100 years until he came around a

          • "He ignored everyone else who made little improvements to the motor and seemed to say that he is as good as Tesla. " -

            i think thats a mis-interpretation of what he allegedly said by you
    • by locopuyo (1433631)
      He also came up with the best hand dryers and fans. I'm pretty sure he isn't a one hit wonder.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I guess it depends on your point of view. Most of the little kids I know don't like the loud sound or the intense pressure generated by his hand dryers. Another problem for kids is that they don't work if you aren't tall enough to reach them. Not to mention, you could buy a lot of paper towels for $1350 [amazon.com] or $1899 [amazon.com]. Other electric hand dryers are much cheaper, some under $200.
        • There is also the problem with hand-driers in that they kick up any loose bacteria in the path of the air stream. So, kind of gross to use in a bathroom.

          • by locopuyo (1433631)
            That isn't a problem with the Dyson hand dryers because they don't use heated air. Regular hand dryers actually harbor bacteria because it is just a warm moist area for them to live. They end up increasing the bacteria count on your hand. The Dyson and paper towels get rid of bacteria.
  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Monday February 10, 2014 @10:37AM (#46210047)

    Sounds like Duke Nukem Forever.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If so, I'm buying it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He must have sold a dozen vacuums to raise that kind of cash!

    • 5 million pounds can pay for at least 50 man-years.

      That ought to be enough to develop a robotic vacuum cleaner, I'd say.

      • by RandCraw (1047302)

        Google just spent 100 times as much as Dyson ($700M) to hire ~100 top AI talent.

        At that market rate Dyson's 5M pounds would yield a staff of five.

  • ...that Dyson only knows how to make things that suck...
  • by StefanJ (88986) on Monday February 10, 2014 @12:19PM (#46210721) Homepage Journal

    "Flesh stripped from their bones, like they were attacked by a super-powerful vacuum."

    "Damn. Third one this week."

    "Place sure is tidy, though."

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Monday February 10, 2014 @12:29PM (#46210811) Journal

    We have pets, and have to vacuum a lot And what I've found, in particular, is that small and lightweight vacuums can't begin to cope with it... in my experience, the cartridge needs to be emptied about every 15 minutes for suction to be maintained, so we have to use a full-sized vacuum, with a full-sized bag, which we need to replace about once every 3 to 4 weeks. In light of that, what I'd want in a robotic vacuum is one that can automatically empty its own canister into a larger bin at its charging station whenever the robot's canister is full, such that the larger bin at the recharging station only has to be emptied out maybe every week or so, at most.

    It would also be ideal for my situation if it could both a) handle carpet and tile/hardwood with equal efficacy; and b) do stairs, handling all the floors in a multilevel home or loft apartment.

    When somebody invents a robotic vacuum that can do that...well...then... insert the shut-up-and-take-my-money gif here.

    • by operagost (62405)

      We have pets too... and hardwood floors, with requisite throw rugs in high-traffic areas. I have yet to see a vacuum that actually picks up hard debris on the hardwood (like gravel, or bits of cereal) instead of shooting it across the floor, or that cleans along the edges of a carpet instead of leaving it there or grabbing the edge of the throw rug. How about a suction control? My 1970s Hoover canister (RIP) had it... apparently, In 2014 I'm supposed to hang my rugs outside and beat them like it's 1914.

      I

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Turn off the beater bar (usually a switch for this) when doing non-carpeted floors and you should be able to vacuum up that stuff no problem. If that still doesn't work, most vacuums make the hose easily detachable so you can vacuum up the big bits without a problem.
      • "They do have a nice fat ball that keeps them from cleaning under any couches, though."

        thats what the handle is for, its a detachable hose similar to the old tech vacuums, Dysons have 2 methods of cleaning
    • by rpstrong (1659205)

      Google "robot vacuum self emptying" and dig out your wallet. Yes, they're out there.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        I didn't see any of them that look like they'd do stairs...Also, I'm unsure if any of them would do both hard floor and carpets equally well.
  • The basement-dwelling subset of the Slashdot community are praying they just don't make it smart enough to talk about...alternative uses for a vaccuum.

  • No to Cylons... we had enough trouble in the Colonies thanks to them..

  • We can argue about the quality of Dyson products all we want, but be assured that all those off-topic beta posts are not losing suction.
  • The Neato Signature Pro I got for Christmas (named Sebastian by my manga obsessed daughter) is frankly marvellous - have not hoovered myself since. The future indeed is this way. Dyson will have a job doing better... only some way of climbing stairs (which I cannot even begin to fathom) would improve things dramatically.

    Disclaimer: I have absolutely no connection with the Neato guys (even though they clearly are rather neat (in all senses))
  • I thought it was interesting that the article mentioned that Dyson has never released a robot vacuum, but then failed to note that the company did *announce* a robot vacuum back around 2001, and finally (quietly) decided to cancel it in 2005. That vacuum was called the DC06 - a summary of the letter "announcing" its cancellation can be found here: http://www.robotreviews.com/ch... [robotreviews.com]

    Those who say this is an easy problem have clearly never really looked at what it takes to solve it. I have - my original backg

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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