The war of the floor cleaners heats up some more. In the case of the Mint Cleaner and the Scooba, it's a battle of robotic floor mops.
Looks like high-tech companies have been taking note of iRobot's impressive rise to success. After all, the robotic company's 5-million-units-sold milestone could only mean one thing: consumers are now ready to adopt consumer robots into their households.
Mint, a product of Evolution Robotics, is more of an intelligent floor mop. That means, it directly competes with iRobot's Scooba. This puts additional pressure on the robotics company from Bedford MA whose flagship product, the Roomba, recently received fresh competition from the LG Roboking, Neato XV-11, and ASUS ECleaner.
Evolution Robotics specializes in robotics solutions and typically partners with OEMs to produce useful intelligent machines (Wowwee's robots, for instance). Evolution's products include NorthStar, a localization solution that utilizes photonic technology to tell a device where it is in real time, and ERSP, a robotic development platform used by a number consumer products all around the globe.
Using NortStar, the Mint cleaner initially maps the room, plans a strategy for cleaning, and eventually follows up on areas not covered well in a previous pass. Its chiclet shape enables Mint to clean corners better than round-sided robotic vacuum cleaners. Note that the Neato XV-11 also bears a similar form at its front side (i.e., having rectangular corners).
Mint also has a low profile and a small footprint to allow it to navigate in narrow and low spaces. These are areas seldom reached by regular floor cleaning devices.
By employing PerfectEdge technology, the robot is able to thoroughly clean areas alongside walls, edges, and corners. Just like the Scooba and Roomba, Mint intelligently avoids places where it can fall off or get stuck, like stairs and rugs.
Although NorthStar technology provides the capability for devices like this to return to a base-station for charging, this feature is not put to use in Mint. The developers at Mint figure this feature is seldom if at all used by household owners, who usually prefer to recharge their robotic vacuum cleaners out of sight after using.
Like the iRobot Scooba, Mint comes with a fluid to aid it in its mopping chores. It also utilizes Proctor & Gamble's Swiffer to apply the fluid and wipe off dirt. When it's done with its cleaning activities, the robot leaves your floor dry and clean.
2010 has just begun, and it looks like a pretty good year for robots.