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Photos: Robot vacuums and rolling laptops

Evolution Robotics has a navigation system called NorthStar that helps self-propelled machines scoot around the living room.
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1 of 3 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Northstar

Look out, Roomba. Evolution Robotics is looking to muscle in on your turf (er, carpet?). The Pasadena, Calif., company has a navigation system called NorthStar that's used in a robotic vacuum cleaner for specialty retailer The Sharper Image, among other gear; now it says it has a deal with a major appliance maker to develop a vacuum-bot set to sweep into living rooms in early 2008. Seen here is Sharper Image's $99 Evac. NorthStar projects lights onto a ceiling or other surface so that a detector on the robot can triangulate to find its location.

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2 of 3 Andy Smith/ZDNet

ERI

This is what Evolution calls the standard edition of its ER1 robot, with an attached gripper for grabbing and carrying objects. The ER1 is a do-it-yourself high-tech contraption with programmable software and what the company promises is easy-to-assemble hardware.

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3 of 3 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Jupiter

Seoul-based Yujin Robotics is using Evolution's NorthStar navigation system in a prototype household robot called Jupiter, in a project organized by the Korean Ministry of Information and Communication. The ministry's Ubiquitous Robot Companion concept involves robots linked by a broadband connection to a server, in order to minimize a robot's onboard functions and thus its cost.

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