7 Gifts for Robot Fanatics
NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- I've been a huge fan of robots since I got the 2-XL, an educational toy robot, for Hanukkah as a kid. Sure, it probably doesn't meet the traditional definition of a robot -- it was basically just a robot-shaped cassette player that allowed you to interact with educational programs on the tapes -- but I loved it all the same. And if you want your friends and family to have this same sense of joy for the holidays, the robot route is one way to go.
The good news is that robots have come a long way since the early '90s, and there are now a wide variety of robotic consumer products and toys for your "robophile" child or spouse. Here are a few of the best bots on the market right now.
|A pair of kid-controlled fighting robots can be yours for just $17,000 from Hammacher Schlemmer. But call by Dec. 1 to place an order for Christmas.|
For the clean freak: the Roomba
It's fair to say the Roomba has established itself as the gold standard of robotic consumer products. A refresher for those who don't keep up on the world of robotic cleaners: The Roomba is a small vacuum cleaner that automatically whirrs around the house vacuuming your carpets. It is able to sense obstructions in its path and veer around them, and when it finishes cleaning it returns to its charging hub. All you need to do is empty it on a regular basis.
The latest generation of Roombas, the 700 series, range from $449.99 to $599.99 in price, though if you want an earlier model you can pick up one at Amazon for just $316.For the clean freak without carpets: the Mint
Hey, linoleum and hardwood floors need cleaning, too. To this end, Evolution Robotics introduced the Mint. The device is basically the love child of a Roomba and Swiffer -- a tiny robot equipped with dry and wet cleaning cloths to clean dust and dirt from your floors. The basic model retails for $199.99, while the beefed-up Mint Plus sells for $299.99. One of the best perks of this product is that you can use your own do-it-yourself cleaning solution to cut costs. For homeowners: the automatic mower
Do you hate mowing the lawn? Do you have a lot of money to spend? Are you comfortable with the idea of owning a robot equipped with razor-sharp spinning blades? If, and only if, you answered yes to these three questions, you might consider getting an automatic mower for you or your loved one's lawn. One option is the Friendly Robotics RoboMower, which retails for $1,850 on Amazon. The robot is exactly what you'd imagine it to be: an oversized Roomba that cuts your lawn instead of vacuuming while you sit on your porch sipping lemonade. It uses a rechargeable battery instead of gasoline, and it will mow three-quarters of an acre on a single charge. To keep it from rampaging across the neighborhood you'll need to lay a thin wire down around the perimeter of your yard, which is included with the machine. Take heed, though: The product description notes that "the mower cuts grass into fine clippings and disperses the cuttings over the ground," so if you had notions this thing would gather the clippings and dump them in the woods, you're in for some disappointment.
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