Jan. 3, 2011 at 12:46 PM ET
Ew — cleaning the toilet bowl is a nasty enough job, but we've got plop-in tablets and arms-length scrubbers to help us do that job. But cleaning around it — different story, and often as nasty as doing the inside job.
The folks at iRobot, who created Roomba, the round little robotic vacuum cleaner, have now developed the iRobot Scooba 230 to do that icky chore for you, and for some of us, it will be well worth every penny of its anticipated $299.99 cost when it comes out this spring.
Scooba is just 3.5 inches tall, 6.5 inches in diameter and also can clean around other tight spaces. The robot's "three-stage cleaning system washes, scrubs and squeegees floors, neutralizing up to 97 percent of common household bacteria," iRobot said, in unveiling the little guy, which will be demo'd this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The little toilet-cleaning tyrant "holds enough cleaning solution to scrub up to 150 square feet of linoleum, tile or sealed hardwood floors in a single cleaning session."
Furthermore, and this is really important to clean freaks, "Unlike with a mop and bucket, Scooba only uses clean solution to wash your floors, never dirty water. Scooba 230's water management system includes an active reservoir that keeps the cleaning solution and dirty water separate inside the robot. While the robot is cleaning, the active reservoir shrinks in size as cleaning solution is put down on the floor, freeing up space in the robot to hold the dirty water that is picked up. Scooba doesn't move dirt (or dirty water) around — it gets rid of it."
Oh happy day! Scooba gives off a series of lights and chimes when it's done with the dreaded deed.
The device uses something iRobot calls "Virtual Wall" technology which "creates an invisible beam that the robot won't cross, keeping Scooba 230 in the rooms you want to clean and out of the ones you don't. Cliff sensors ensure the robot automatically avoids stairs and drop-offs while cleaning."
And, for those who have been waiting for an update on the Roomba, first released in 2002, the sixth generation, known as the Roomba 700 series, and also due out in spring, promises, among other things, an advanced cleaning head ("including 20 percent better pickup of fine particulates," a more powerful vacuum that will "pull more hair and debris off the brushes and into the bin"), and an acoustic sensor that will detect "excessive amounts of small and hard debris, such as sand, and an optical sensor to detect larger and soft debris, such as popcorn."
Bring on the Orville! The Roomba 700 series will start at $449.99.