The football hangover is -briefly- over, and the Bay Area has now cast its gaze (and cashed in its planes tickets) toward Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronics Show. Once again, CES promises a boatload of new gadgets to be perished by about 150,000 people. Some of the gadgets will make sense, some will seem crazy.
Come to think of it, you can say that about many of the 150,000 people who will attend CES, too.
While the show officially kicks off Tuesday morning, we'll be getting our hands on some cool stuff tonight, including a couple of robots heading to a back yard, and front yard, near you.
iRobot, famous for its Roomba floor cleaning robot, has two new offerings to show off this year. One, which will clean your floors, is called the Mirra. It's for your pool. Yes, the pool cleaning man in your life is being replaced by a robot. The Mirra actually looks like many pool cleaners you've seen - it's brand new,and while it looks cool on the show floor, we've yet to see it action. Look for one when the weather warms up.
As for the front yard - that would be the Looj. It's is a gutter cleaning robot that's thin, fits in your gutter and will do what we all know is a tough, thankless job. Put it together, charge it up, plop it into the gutter, and it goes. While it's cool to watch, it's a lot less messy for you if you come down off the ladder, press the remote control, and stand back as the leaves fly out of your gutter. It's also something your neighbors will gape at. Trust me, I've tried a demo model.
The Looj will run you close to 300 dollars. Worth it? Hard to say, but it's the same criticism people have had through the years about the various Roomba models, and they keep selling.
Face it, robots are cool, and iRobot has done a pretty good job of bringing them into the home. Now, they're aiming for the outside.