Toshiba's Roomba-Killer Packs Two CPUs...in a Vacuum

The international floor cleaning robot slave arena just got hotter—Toshiba's new Smarbo (terrible name) looks and functions pretty much exactly like the Roomba we love so much, but has two brains inside. Twice the cleanliness?

Probably not. But it could mean better cleaning. It looks like the Smarbo uses IR sensors to detect obstacles like walls, tables, and your cat, which are then fed through room-mapping software to chart a clear path through your pad. Although we don't know the specs of the Smarbo's processors, added crunching power could mean more efficient mapping, which means a cleaner floor in less time. Another nifty touch is a top-mounted camera, which Toshiba says provides optical data to help "remember" what ground the Smarbo's already covered.

Otherwise, the two operate similarly. One big difference? The price tag. Smarbo's debuting in Japan for $1,175—about twice what you'd pay for a Roomba, and a hell of a lot to spend on a vacuum cleaner, robotic or not. I guess that second processor comes at a premium. [Toshiba via TechCrunch]