Holiday Robot-Buying Guide

 
 
By Lance Ulanoff  |  Posted 2006-11-29 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It hasn't been the automaton season I'd hoped for, but here's how to fulfill your robot.

Welcome to my first annual Consumer Robot Buying Guide! Were living in the golden age of robotics, which means the choices are...Wait. I cant do it. Not without setting the record straight.

Were supposed to be living in the golden age of robotics and for some sectors—medicine, industrial automation, warfare—we are. Consumer robotics is another matter. That part of the market has stalled, and I dont know what it will take to get it going again.

Wow Wees Robosapien and Roboraptor and iRobots Roomba should have been the sparks that ignited the industry. Instead, the lit fuse has been snuffed out. Wow Wees newest Roboreptile is entertaining, but it has done little to move the industry forward. Meanwhile, the excitement surrounding iRobots Roomba has dimmed, and the Scooba floor mop has not been a Roomba-like hit. Worse yet, instead of more companies flooding into the consumer robot space, there seem to be fewer. Sony dismantled its consumer robots division and killed off the AIBO and the Qrio, and Radio Shack dumped the Vex robot kit.

Its not as if there isnt robotics development going on all over the world. Japan is a hotbed of humanoid robot development. Yet, almost none of these bots are intended for the home or priced so that a consumer could afford them (without selling their home).

Thats the painful truth.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: Holiday Robot-Buying Guide
 
 
 
 
Lance Ulanoff is Editor in Chief and VP of Content for PC Magazine Network, and brings with him over 20 years journalism experience, the last 16 of which he has spent in the computer technology publishing industry.

He began his career as a weekly newspaper reporter before joining a national trade publication, traveling the country covering product distribution and data processing issues. In 1991 he joined PC Magazine where he spent five years writing and managing feature stories and reviews, covering a wide range of topics, including books and diverse technologies such as graphics hardware and software, office applications, operating systems and, tech news. He left as a senior associate editor in 1996 to enter the online arena as online editor at HomePC magazine, a popular consumer computing publication. While there, Ulanoff launched AskDrPC.com, and KidRaves.com and wrote about Web sites and Web-site building.

In 1998 he joined Windows Magazine as the senior editor for online, spearheading the popular magazine's Web site, which drew some 6 million page views per month. He also wrote numerous product reviews and features covering all aspects of the computing world. During his tenure, Winmag.com won the Computer Press Association's prestigious runner-up prize for Best Overall Website.

In August 1999, Ulanoff briefly left publishing to join Deja.com as producer for the Computing and Consumer Electronics channels and then was promoted to the site's senior director for content. He returned to PC Magazine in November 2000 and relaunched PCMag.com in July 2001. The new PCMag.com was named runner-up for Best Web Sites at the American Business Media's Annual Neal Awards in March 2002 and won a Best Web Site Award from the ASBPE in 2004. Under his direction, PCMag.com regularly generated more than 25 million page views a month and reached nearly 5 million monthly unique visitors in 2005.

For the last year and a half, Ulanoff has served as Editor, Reviews, PC Magazine. In that role he has overseen all product and review coverage for PC Magazine and PCMag.com, as well as managed PC Labs. He also writes a popular weekly technology column for PCMag.com and his column also appears in PC Magazine.

Recognized as an expert in the technology arena, Lance makes frequent appearances on local, national and international news programs including New York's Eyewitness News, NewsChannel 4, CNN, CNN HN, CNBC, MSNBC, Good Morning America Weekend Edition, and BBC, as well as being a regular guest on FoxNews' Studio B with Shepard Smith. He has also offered commentary on National Public Radio and been interviewed by radio stations around the country. Lance has been an invited guest speaker at numerous technology conferences including Digital Life, RoboBusiness, RoboNexus, Business Foresight and Digital Media Wire's Games and Mobile Forum.

Lance also serves as co-host of PC Magazine's weekly podcast, PCMag Radio.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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