Gadget Spot: Neato XV-11 Robotic Vacuum

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There are few more memorable scenes from Hollywood than the one in Goldfinger in which James Bond lays prostrate as a laser starts a slow journey between his legs to ostensibly neuter the world's most famous spy before splitting him in two.

As this happens, Bond coolly asks arch-villain Auric Goldfinger, "Do you expect me to talk?" Goldfinger responds, "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"

Since seeing that movie, I've been a sucker for gadgets with lasers. For instance, a gadget like the Neato XV-11 Robotic All-Floor Vacuum Cleaner. You can pre-order yours for $400 at and be among the first to receive one when they ship next month.

The Neato XV-11 is no mere vacuum cleaner. It features RPS (room positioning system) technology that uses a laser to take a 360-degree scan of the room, then map and algorithmically plan the most efficient path to robotically clean it. The device's laser distance sensors can see as far as 13 feet, and can take 4,000 readings a second.

Should your pet or grandmother stroll into the room, the Neato's SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) technology quickly becomes aware and will clean around either.

Armed with its laser, this product detects doorways and can move from room to room. As its battery runs low, the XV-11 will return to its home charging base for a power refill before returning to the exact spot where it left off. This robot is so smart, if you knock it away from its charger, it'll use a "snugging" feature to return itself to its base.

The Neato's centrifugal compressor-impeller is based on jet engine air flow principles, creating the highest power suction of any robotic sweeper. The unit works on carpet or hard floors and is able to vacuum most anything, including pet hair. Its low profile lets it move under furniture and some couches.

An LCD screen lets you determine whether the vacuum should clean daily, weekly or at some other interval. Operating it is as easy as hitting a button and walking away. The only other chore you'll have is to empty the dirt bin.

While there may be cheaper laser-equipped gadgets available, few can claim to be as useful or as functional.

What about practical? That's left to the eye of the beholder.

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