Finally, a Roomba that vacuums and mops • TechCrunch

IRobot makes robots that vacuum. IRobot makes robots that mop. Different corporations make robots that vacuum and mop. So, why doesn’t iRobot? Should you had requested the corporate that query as just lately as just a few weeks again, you seemingly would have gotten a inventory reply about not doing one thing till you are able to do it proper.

Clearly the reply is a little more nuanced. For one factor, iRobot does make a two-in-one — form of, kind of, not less than. Factor is, it’s A) Solely out there in Europe and B) Apparently it’s probably not as much as the corporate’s personal exacting requirements in the case of this kind of factor — one thing co-founder and CEO Colin Angle admitted in a dialog with TechCrunch final week.

Picture Credit: irobot

“The shopper may be very excited concerning the comfort of a two-in-one robotic, so we would have liked to construct one,” the chief says. “However, being iRobot, we would have liked to truly construct one, versus doing it in a means that doesn’t ship on the promise. Proper now, most two-in-one robots are actually one-plus-one.” He consists of the aforementioned Roomba in that listing.

The opposite attention-grabbing wrinkle in all of that is iRobot’s lengthy historical past with mopping robots. The Scooba line dates again to 2006. The product was primarily a Roomba that swapped the particles bag for clear and soiled water tanks. It was discontinued after a decade, following iRobot’s acquisition of Evolution Robotics. That firm’s Mint robotic, which used a pad to wash flooring, ultimately turned Braava.

Picture Credit: iRobot

As we speak, iRobot introduced the Roomba Combo j7+, the primary Roomba (with that one notable exception) to deliver two-in-one mopping and vacuuming to the favored product line. As urged by the prolonged identify, the brand new providing relies on the identical {hardware} as the usual j7. The “+” refers back to the emptying dock, whereas the “Combo” is a reference to the mopping performance. Given the naming conference, it looks like the “Combo” characteristic will probably be coming to further entries within the Roomba line, down the highway.

The mopping performance makes use of an arm that lowers a Braava-style pad to the ground and lifts up and lays flush on the highest of the robotic for protected stowage — and to keep away from dragging the mop on the carpet. Amongst different issues, the system’s on-board intelligence is ready to distinguish carpeting/rugs from hardwood/tile/linoleum.

Picture Credit: iRobot

The robotic’s footprint is a bit bigger than the usual j7, partly to afford additional house for the water tank. In the meanwhile, the dock is just not capable of robotically empty the tank, because it does the vacuum bin, although that seems to be one thing the corporate is engaged on.

As you’ve no-doubt guessed, none of this comes low cost. The Combo j7+ goes up for preorder right this moment, priced at $1,099. It begins transport October 4, and also will be made out there with out the bin + bundle.

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