If you’ve ever seen a Roomba do its thing, you know the robotic vacuum has one design flaw: Its round shape makes it miss a little triangle of space at the corners of the room. That’s the spot where cat hair goes to die in my apartment, so it requires a little manual attention post Roomba sweep.
Panasonic is getting in on the robotic vac market with the release of its MC-RS1 Rulo, a bot it hopes will solve the corner issue. The Rulo is triangular but with rounded corners; it promises a “firm cleaning” to “penetrate up to the corner of the room,” according to the Google translation of the press release.
The Rulo moves from side to side and pivots when it’s between two walls. Using its “house dust discovery sensor,” the robot detects dirt and debris and can change speed to tackle more difficult tasks. Two side brushes sweep the dust towards the suction point at the center of the vacuum. Infrared sensors help the Rulo maneuver around obstacles and uses “area memory function” to clean the places you request.
It takes around three hours for the lithium-ion battery to charge, and then it can run for an hour. The battery’s lifecycle is around 1,500 charges, according to Panasonic. At 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds), it’s a little lighter than iRobot’s Roomba 880, but it’s ¥100,00 ($850) price tag, according to the Wall Street Journal, is higher than the 880, which retails for $700.
Right now, the Rulo is only being released in Japan, with a launch date of March 20. Still, if it proves popular enough, maybe one day we’ll see American cats riding on these triangular contraptions.