With countless new models released every year, the robovac arms race seems happy to ignore features like battery life, storage capacity, and even price. What's most important these days is how intelligently an autonomous vacuum can navigate its surroundings, so Toshiba's crammed some 27 sensors into its new Torneo Robo, so it always knows what needs cleaning and what obstacles to avoid.
These include both infrared and acoustic sensors so the robot can even see glass furniture and avoid a collision, and sensors located on either side so that it runs close to a wall while vacuuming without actually scraping against it. And to ensure that it actually cleans right to the edges of a room, including its corners, a pair of extra-long spinning whiskers effectively increase its reach.
Like most robovacs on the market right now, the VC-RCX1 and VC-RVD1 will automatically return to their charger bases before their battery is completely dead. But while docked, the base will actually suck dirt and debris out of the robot's collection bins into its own, so you only have to dump it out about once a month. That feature alone could be worth justifying the robovac and its $1,150 price tag over a cheaper Roomba, which demands a little more attention and maintenance. [Toshiba via Tech-On]