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iRobot acquires Evolution Robotics

Evolution Robotics Mint Plus with Northstar navigation cube

iRobot Corp, has announced yesterday that it acquires Evolution Robotics, Inc., the developer of Mint and Mint Plus floor sweeping and mopping robots.The ~$74 million deal will provide access for iRobot to all the technologies and intellectual properties of Evolution Robotics in future developments, while existing Mint products will enrich iRobot's floor care robot portfolio. Paolo Pirjanian, CEO of Evolution Robotics will also join the iRobot team as Chief Technology Office.

Video: LG Hom-Bot Square

"This is a beautiful, but sad story of the last dust in the dark corner..."

More about the LG Hom-Bot Square in our IFA report

Ecovacs Famibot S586

Evovacs Famibot S586

Ecovacs has expanded its product portfolio with yet another home robot. Ecovacs Famibot is a home security and home automation robot that can keep an eye on the house while we are away and it is able to transmit live video with sound to any network connected smart phone. The robot itself and other household appliances like air conditioners or lights can be controlled remotely through the internet. Famibot also doubles as a security guard. Its sensors can detect burglary or smoke in the house and can alert the owner of the unexpected situation instantly.

Future technologies at iRobot

iRobot booth at IFA

Although I have seen some of the new robots the night before the opening of IFA, I still went to see what iRobot had on display this year. They almost had everything that they currently have in production from Roombas to Seagliders. Of course the demo tables were filled with working 600 and 700 series Roombas and the two Scooba models, but I've also seen the new Looj gutter cleaner robot as well. iRobot is planning to bring the Looj product line to Europe next year, so I guess it was time to show it to local customers.

Ecovacs Winbot 7

Evovacs Winbot 7

In January at CES Ecovacs demonstrated their window cleaning robot, the Winbot. Just like the original window cleaner the Windoro, Winbot was also a two unit cleaner that worked in pairs, one on each sides of the windows. In Las Vegas, Ecovacs representatives hinted that they are working on a single unit version that can clean the window without having a matching unit on the opposite side. Although they promised to have it ready only in the second half of 2013, it was ready to be demonstrated here at IFA.

Windoro 2nd generation

Windoro booth at IFA 2012

In January this year, at CES I have heard about the second generation of the robot, and only a few months later it was ready for some demonstrations. Engineers have redesigned the user interface for easier operation. The new outer design looks a lot more like a regular home appliance than an industrial cleaner. The new lithium-polymer batteries can be charged faster and last longer on a single charge than the lithium-ion batteries of the current generation.

Kärcher RC4000

Kärcher RC4000

Premium robot maker Kärcher had a humble booth in a passage between two larger halls. Instead of going green, Kärcher decided to leave the signature yellow behind and went white. The whole booth was full of white versions of the well known yellow cleaners, including a little robot, the RC4000. The robot was originally announced a year ago, and it did not change a bit since that. In fact, it is exactly the same as the yellow RC3000, but in white, so no matter how much I like this robot, my visit at the Kärcher area was the shortest of all.

Moneual MR7700 and MR6500

Moneual booth at IFA

Korean robot vacuum cleaner manufacturer Moneual had two products on demonstration in Berlin The Moneual MR7700 seems to be the successor (or the renamed version) of the Moneual Rydis R750 that was annonced at CES in 2011, and like its predecessor, it is one of the slimmest floor cleaning robot out there with its height being only 8 cm. Moneual distinguishes its products from competing robots with the BLDC (brushless) vacuum motor and the lithium-iron phosphate battery.

Mamirobot

Mamirobot booth at IFA

Korean Mamirobot had no completely new products on display in Berlin, but they have brought revised, improved versions of their previously known Sevian K7 robot. The new version, now called PPORO K7 is distinguished from its predecessors by the new flower design on the top, but most of the important changes are not visible. A wider sensor window on the front allows more reliable readings while the new software adds a new SSW (Spider Spinning Web) mode.

Dirt Devil Evo Plus and Dirt Devil Libero

Dirt Devil booth at IFA 2012

Dirt Devil had two robotic floor cleaners on display this year. One of them was an automatic mopping robot the Evo Plus M 679 (also known as Evolution Robotics Mint Plus), while the other is a small and affordable vacuum cleaner, the Libero.

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