Japan's Sharp reveals a new robotic vacuum cleaner.

It is named the Cocorobo, which combines the Japanese terms for "heart" and "robot."

The vacuum uses three ultrasonic sensors to navigate around obstacles, and actively reacts to its environment.


It can also trade remarks with its owners...

"How are you feeling?"

...and follow voice commands.

"Clean Up."

The vacuum connects to a wireless network, and can be controlled using apps, available for iPhones and Android devices.
It streams video from a front-mounted camera.

The camera can also be used to take pictures of its surroundings as it spins in a circle.
This feature can be used remotely, allowing owners to check on their homes and pets while they're away.

Cocorobo speaks Japanese in two accents, as well as Chinese and English.

USB Quote.

Like other robotic vacuums, it covers the floor in a semi-random pattern, using two side brushes to sweep up dirt.
It also includes Sharp's PlasmaCluster air cleaning system, the filters for which are built in to its removable dust bin.

The full-featured, chatty version of the Cocorobo will sell for around ¥130,000, or about US$1,600. A more basic version will sell for ¥90,000, or US$1,100.

It will be available in Japan in early June, and released in China within the next few months, then expanded to other Asian countries.

The company is still in the planning stages for a possible US or European launch.

For IDG News Service, this is Jay Alabaster in Tokyo.