IRobot makes robots that vacuum. IRobot makes robots that mop. Different firms make robots that vacuum and mop. So, why would not iRobot? In the event you had requested the corporate that query as just lately as a couple of weeks again, you probably 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, form of, no less than. Factor is, it is A) Solely out there in Europe and B) Apparently it is probably not as much as the corporate’s personal exacting requirements with regards to this form of factor — one thing co-founder and CEO Colin Angle admitted in a dialog with final week.

Picture Credit: iRobot

“The client may be very excited concerning the comfort of a two-in-one robotic, so we wanted to construct one,” the manager says. “However, being iRobot, we wanted to really construct one, versus doing it in a manner that does not 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 fascinating 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 scrub flooring, finally turned Braava.

Picture Credit: iRobot

At this time, 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 recommended by the prolonged title, the brand new providing is predicated 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” function will likely be coming to extra 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 secure 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, partially to afford further area for the water tank. For the time being, the dock isn’t in a position to robotically empty the tank, because it does the vacuum bin, although that seems to be one thing the corporate is engaged on.

As you have little doubt guessed, none of this comes low cost. The Combo j7+ goes up for preorder as we speak, priced at $1,099. It begins delivery October 4, and also will be made out there with out the bin + bundle.


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