Ecovacs Deebot, Winbot and Airbot

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Ecovacs booth at CES 2012

Ecovacs, launched in year 2000, is a subidiary of TEK Electronic Co., Ltd. specialized on making robotic cleaning solutions. After iRobot, Ecovacs has the largest selection of cleaning robots. They currently provide two air purifier, two window cleaner and 5 vacuum cleaner robots. They had most of these on display at CES 2012.

Air pollution seems to be an important issue in Asia, only this could explain why do Chinese and Korean robot manufacturers develop robots especially to clean the air in the house. Ecovacs currently offers two kinds of these robots, the Airbot A320 and the Airbot A330. The two models are almost identical, but the latter one is able to raise the upper part to nearly 1 m (3 ft), cleaning the air more effectively. The robot moves around in the house and tries to find the source of the pollution. It goes to where the air is the dirtiest and filters it through. Once the air is clean, the robot returns to the docking station to recharge. The robot has a three stage filtering system: the top filter is for large particles, the second is a charcoal filter, while the last one goes down to 0.3 microns. The filters are cleanable, so they can be used several times.

Ecovacs' autonomous window cleaner Winbot is designed to make the life of home and shop owners a bit easier. The robot can clean large windows every week, eliminating the need for monthly window cleaning services. The battery lasts for one hour and that is enough to clean about 9.3 sq m (100 sq ft) of window. The main idea behind the robotic window cleaning is the same as with the floor cleaning: if you do it often, the surface won't have time to get really dirty, so the robot will be able to handle the cleaning easily. The robot has no cleaning solution reservoir, but a special cleaning solution can be sprayed on the micro-fiber pads to enhance cleaning quality.

The first generation of the robot operates on battery power, but the second generation of Winbots have a power cord attached, so even larger windows can be cleaned more easily. These are two unit robots that go on the two sides of the glass and are held together by magnets (the strength is adjustable depending on the thickness of the glass). Ecovacs is currently working on a third generation Winbot that will be a single unit robot, not requiring a counterpart. That new model is expected to be released at the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014.

The vacuum cleaning selection of Ecovacs covers the whole range of robotic vacuum cleaner market from $199 to $599. The top of the line model, the Deebot D76 (also called Deepoo) comes with a docking station that can even clean the dust bin of the robot every time it returns to the station. This allows the robot to run longer without the need to empty its dust bin. The canister on the top of the docking station is removable and it can act as a regular vacuum cleaner to clean stairs, corners and other areas unreachable to the robot. (Currently I have the Deepoo D76 in house, so expect a review soon.)

Ecovacs is also working on a vacuum cleaner robot that covers the floor in a systematic manner, but they believe that most systematic cleaners leave untouched areas between lines. (I heard the same from iRobot.) These robots never go back to clean the missed spots or lines because they believe that they have covered it all. In contrast, randomly moving robots don't keep track of covered an uncovered areas, so they can pass over the same area several times. Despite of the problems, Ecovacs expects to have a systematic model in the first half of 2013.

Ecovacs is also working on a robot that can mop the floor with a damp cloth, but they are not in the business to release a Scooba like wet mopping robot.

All products are already available on the Chinese market, and the vacuum cleaners are sold in some European countries. The air purifiers and the window cleaner robots will go on sale in Europe in 2012. The Winbot and the Airbot is expected to arrive first to the US in 2013, while the vacuum cleaner will only follow when Ecovacs brand is established on the robotic cleaner market.

Ecovacs Deepoo D73
Ecovacs Deepoo D73
Ecovacs Winbot
Ecovacs Winbot
Ecovacs Winbot
Ecovacs Airbot A330
Ecovacs Airbot A330
Ecovacs Airbot A330
Ecovacs Airbot A330
Ecovacs Airbot A330 - filters removed
Ecovacs Airbot A330 - small particle filter
Ecovacs Airbot A330 - carbon filter
Ecovacs Airbot A330 - large particle filter

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