Robot vacuum cleaners seem to be going through a shape evolution. The very first ones were little more than fancy and thick cylinders that roamed around your house cleaning almost every nook and cranny. Them some got classier and started sporting a more industrial, box-type body. Now someone is trying to go with a triangle. Yes, Pananosic‘s upcoming Rulo robot vacuum cleaner has a rather odd triangular chassis, but don’t be so quick to pan that as a gimmick, as it has been thoughtfully designed to reach even corners.
If you consider the shape of wall corners and the shape of these robots, you immediately see the benefits of the shape. A round robot would never be able to squeeze into that corner, but a sqaure or rectangular one would have trouble maneuvering. A triangle, then, seems to be the perfect solution. But that’s not the only reason Rulo can reach those corners.
Rulo also has rotating brushes on two of its three corners. These brushes can conveniently reach into those corners and into other surfaces as well. The brushes drive the dirt into the central underbelly of the robot, where its main rotating cleaning mechanism is located.
Despite those fancy mechanisms and odd shape, the Panasonic Rulo only weighs 6.6 lbs or roughly 3 kilograms. It operates delicately enough that it can even clean tatami mats, which are often made of straw. The robot can run in auto mode for about an hour and thanks to its sensors, which include infrared and ultrasonic, it can be configured to either follow the walls of a room or move randomly about, finding its way around obstacles like furniture and pets.
The Panasonic Rulo will go on sale in Japan starting March with a price tag of 107,780 yen, roughly $913. No word yet when and if it will hit stores in other markets.