When iRobot announced the first home cleaning robot, it seemed like more of a Jetson style fantasy than a reality. But iRobot has sold over 5 million robotic vacuums and the design has come a long way its debut.
This week, iRobot announced two specific cleaning robots: the iRobot Scooba 230 for floor washing in tight spaces and the iRobot Roomba 700 Series, the newest vacuum robot.
The robots are designed to do the vacuuming for you while you put your feet up and relax, or focus on other, more important things.
Since the introduction of the world's first vacuuming robot, iRobot has since branched out with a mopping robot and more specialized vacuum robots like the two devices announced today.
Both of the robots use iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology, a system, which uses software and sensors to monitor the surrounding environment 64 times per second to ensure the entire is cleaned thoroughly.
There's also a "virtual wall" feature that emits an invisible boundary beam so the robot knows to stay within a certain room and not to fall down the stairs.
"These new robots represent our ongoing commitment to developing innovative products that make a difference in people's lives," said Jeff Beck, president of iRobot's Home Robots division.
With the Roomba series vacuums priced between $250 and $500, a price comparable to other home vacuums, iRobot is a viable option for home cleaning.
The major question that remains is whether or not the robot can compare to the vacuum or mop job a human could achieve and if people are willing to take the chance by purchasing one.
"While Roomba is already the world's best-selling vacuum cleaning robot, we continue to make improvements to ensure it is the best on the market and stays at the head of the pack. With the compact Scooba 230, we focused on reducing size without compromising effectiveness and navigability. The launch of Scooba 230 has effectively made one of people's least favorite household chores, cleaning the bathroom, a whole lot easier."
The Scooba 230 is a 3.5 x 6.5 inch robot designed to wash floors in tight bathroom spaces where fixtures and furniture may make it difficult to clean. The robot washes, scrubs, and squeegees up to 150 square feet of linoleum, tile, or sealed hardware floor without ever using the same dirty water twice.
The new version of the Roomba vacuum, Roomba 700 series, has new features like better suction, two HEPA-type air filters to keep dust from recirculating, and longer battery life.
The company reports over 5 million Roomba vacuums have been sold and hopes to expand the robot cleaning line with robots designed for specific tasks, like floor washing.
So, what's next? A laundry folding robot? A cooking robot?
Both the Scooba 230 and the Roomba 700 will be available in spring 2011 at irobot.com.