Robot floor cleaners designed to free us from the drudgery of keeping the house clean are nothing new. Robotic vacuum cleaners, such as the Roomba, Electrolux Trilobite and Neato XV-11, have already found a place patrolling the carpet in many homes, and now the Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner that was first announced at CES in January is nearly ready to report for duty on hard surface floors.
Like its carpet trolling brethren, the Mint adapts to different home environments using a range of sensors and employs advanced navigation technologies to systematically clean floors. It is guided by a NorthStar navigation system that allows the unit to map where it is cleaning so it doesn’t miss a spot or cover the same area over and over. Instead of being a vacuum or brush sweeper Mint automatically dusts and wet mops hard surface floors using popular cleaning cloths, such as Swiffer brand Dry and Wet Cloths and other similar products.
Using dry cloths Mint picks up dust, dirt and hair sitting on the surface, while a special mopping motion using wet cloths allows the unit to dissolve and wipe up deeper dirt and grime. Mint’s rechargeable battery lasts over three hours when dry cleaning, and up to two hours for the more power intensive wet cleaning. Its creators say Mint will dry clean an average sized kitchen in around 25 minutes, while wet cleaning will take a bit longer at around 40 minutes.
To help it fit in tight spaces and hard to reach areas Mint measures about three inches high, while its cleaning pad is less than ten inches wide allowing it to maneuver between chair legs and other small spaces.
Evolution Robotics is currently taking pre-orders for the Mint ahead of a planned Q3 release through direct channels, with those interested needing to submit a US$20 non-refundable deposit, which will go towards the US$249 purchase price. The device will also be available through retail outlets in Q4, although initially the device will only be available in the US, but the company plans to expand internationally in 2011.