The ultimate housekeeper

Armies of robots today perform any number of dangerous and perilous jobs,
such as inspecting nuclear waste and handling explosives. But developers at
Cyberclean Systems, an office cleaning company, have built an android capable of
handling what just might be the most disagreeable task known to man: custodial
work.

The mobile cleaning robot, called Dottie, tidies up entire office buildings in four- to six- hour shifts of continuous work without complaint. On board she carries an industrial-strength vacuum, 22 times more powerful than the household-type, and capable of sucking up even large objects such as crumpled paper or small pets. And at about four times the productivity of a human janitor--cleaning up approximately 8,000 to 18,000 sq ft of floorspace per hour--she's a real bargain to boot.

According to John Holland of Cybermotion, the company that supplied Dottie's mobile platform, she is one example of a growing number of robots being recruited for stupefyingly dull or disagreeable jobs. To wit, his company has already put into service close to 100 guard robots, some capable of sensing an intruder by using up to six different technologies.

But don't throw out your Hoover just yet. The number of robots entering the workforce is going to have to go way up--and prices way down--says Holland, before a robot like Dottie will be making affordable house calls.

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