LAS VEGAS--iRobot demoed its updated line of robot floor cleaners at CES 2011, showing off a more powerful Roomba vacuum bot and a much more compact Scooba floor scrubber.
Roomba hoovered some crushed Cheerios, while Scooba got to work on a coffee-stained tile floor. Both robots go on sale this spring. They're similar to their predecessors, but have important differences.
Both updates have the iAdapt cleaning tech, a sensor and software system that monitors the floor more than 60 times per second and chooses from dozens of robot behaviors to get the job done, the company says.
I played around with the Scooba 350 last year, and wasn't crazy about its bulk, which proved a bit of a pain when emptying the cleaning fluid tanks.
At only 6.5 inches across and 3.5 inches tall, the new Scooba 230 has a much smaller footprint, making maintenance easier, and it can be grabbed with one hand. The new size, however, is mainly designed to allow the robot to get into tight corners around toilets, which was never a delightful chore anyway.
The 230 can scrub up to 150 square feet of sealed hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors, and has edge-detect sensors to keep it away from stairs and drop-offs while working. The company says it can neutralize up to 97 percent of common household bacteria.
A neat feature is how the reservoirs work: An active reservoir system separates the cleaning solution from the dirty water. The active reservoir shrinks as more cleaning fluid is put down on the floor, allowing it to suck up more dirty water. iRobot says this eliminates dirty water from the cleaning area so the robot isn't just moving dirt around like a mop can. … Read more