Sharp Corp announced a new model of the "Cocorobo" robot cleaner Nov 14, 2013.
The company defines the new model, "RX-V200," as the successor to the RX-V100, the highest-end model released in June 2012. It incorporates a "home electrical appliance controller," which is separately sold for other models, and has an improved function of linking to a cloud system. Moreover, because the diameter of the RX-V200 is 30.4cm, which is smaller than the diameters of the other models, it can move between common chair legs.
The home electrical appliance controller is a module for controlling lighting apparatuses, air conditioners, TVs and other appliances that can be controlled by an infrared remote control. With the controller, the user can turn off home electrical appliances via the Cocorobo even when away from home or turn on an air conditioner before coming back home.
For the previous models, the controller is available as an option and needs to be externally attached to them. But the RX-V200 incorporates it as a standard feature. Moreover, while the previous models can control only registered appliances developed by Sharp, the latest model can also control other manufacturers' appliances if they are registered by the user.
The RX-V200 supports the newly-developed "Cocoroboard" SNS-like smartphone application, which is for controlling the Cocorobo. It enables registered family members to exchange messages (characters and images) with the Cocorobo. With the application, the Cocorobo tweets about its operation status and the state of the room, and it is possible for the family members to order the Cocorobo to start cleaning or operate a home electrical appliance.
Furthermore, the RX-V200 supports a service that uses a cloud-based speech recognition engine. The Cocorobo has an embedded speech recognition function developed by RayTron Inc, but the RX-V200 also uses a speech recognition function developed by Fairy Devices Inc via the Internet. As a result, when asked about weather, the RX-V200 provides the latest weather information with its own advice. The weather information is obtained from Weathernews Inc.
The RX-V200 has a higher cleaning capability than the previous models. Specifically, the rotation speed of its motor is controlled between 11,000 to 16,000rpm by using a sensor that measures the amount of sucked dust and based on the load on the rotary brush that is used for taking in dust. And its maximum battery life (100 minutes) is longer than those of the previous models because its suction power increases in carpeted rooms and areas where there is a large amount of dust.
When the cleaner was tested in a room that measured about 71m2 and resembled a "3LDK" room of a condominium, it ran over about 97% of the cleanable floor (about 49.5m2) in about 100 minutes at least once.
There is no manufacturer's suggested retail price, but its expected retail price is ¥130,000 (approx US$1,296). It will be released in Dec 5, 2013.