Robo-Vacuum Smack Down


Remember the Roomba? No, not the dance. We're talking about the autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner that was supposed to end the drudgery of housework as we know it (or at least one household chore that some folks find onerous).

Launched in 2002, the round Roomba was one of those house-of-the-future gizmos you'd see at a World's Fair. Just hit the button, relax and watch Oprah while the Roomba does all the work, zooming around the room busily sucking up dustballs on the shag rug.

More than 5 million Roombas are now out there - including newer models that clean your pool, store and gutters (no more falling off ladders). Other companies, like Electrolux, have jumped in with robots too, all with various on-board navigational systems and sensors to map the robot's course and avoid denting your designer furniture.

But now there's a new robot on the block. Has Roomba met its match with Mint?