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BuzzBite: Japan's Robot of the Year Sucks

Robot of the Year Sucks

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry announced that an automated vacuum cleaner received the Ministry's "Robot of the Year" award for 2006.

The robot, which can vacuum about 3,000 square meters (approximately 32,000 feet) in four hours on a single charge, reportedly replaces the labor of two humans. It is also smart enough to be able to use elevators to travel between floors. If you have a spare 20 million yen (about $166,000 U.S.), you can purchase one from its makers, Fuji Heavy Industries and Sumitomo.

The Ministry announced the contest in early 2006 to promote research and help develop the private-sector market for robotic technology. More than 150 entrants vied for top honors, but the robot vacuum swept away the competition. --Andrew Conry-Murray, [email protected]