Mint: A Fresh Approach to Cleaning Floors, With A Robotic Twist

Ok, ok - I know the title is cliche.  However, I couldn't resist.  Forgive me.

Moving on.  For brevity's sake, let's say that I saw a metric ton's worth of sweet gear at CES 2010.  Everything from media streamers to iPhone skins to Android phones and back again were on display for showgoers' ogling pleasure.  After a while, all of the iPod clones and netbooks start to swim together in a blurry soup of semiconductors and colored plastic, leaving you with nothing but callouses on your feet and a mean headache.

One thing really stood out for me, even through the hubbub: the Mint floor cleaning robot, by Evolution Robotics.  I'm not sure if it was the slick marketing, unique logo, or the product itself that attracted me.  My mind keeps going back to it, and I feel compelled to talk about it.

The Mint is a cute little robot, square-shaped, made out of a white plastic.  The front of the robot has a Swiffer-pad attachment, to which you can affix most store-bought floor cleaner pads... like the aforementioned Swiffer.  It's basically like a floor diaper.  Except for that the robot cleans the floor, not you.  It has both wet and dry cleaning modes.

In the photo above, you should be able to make out the clean streak across the coffee-sprayed white surface in the display booth. 

What I especially loved was Mint's cleaning "algorithm," in which it sweeps from left to right in a linear pattern for the most efficient coverage of your floor.  You can see this in action at about 1:53 in the video.  It's smart enough to map out the room and figure out how much to clean.

Overall, I'll admit that I'm kind of a sucker for robots that do useful stuff, like the Rovio for example (which also uses Evolution Robotics technology.)  Even though I have a pretty small kitchen floor in my condo, I'd probably still buy a Mint just because it's so cool, and of course, a bigger house is probably inevitable once I decide to grow up and quit buying gadgets all the time *wink*

Anyway, I'm excited about the Mint.  I imagine it's probably not the best for catastrophic-I-dropped-the-blender-and-it-shattered-into-a-quadrillion-sticky-dangerous-pieces types of cleanup, but for daily duty and keeping your floor dust-free and shiny, I bet Mint fits the bill perfectly.  Based on what I saw and from previous experience with Evolution Robotics' Northstar technology, I'm thinking it will be reliable and efficient, too.  It should be affordable, under $300 from what I remember, meaning even your average non-geek might be willing to give a dirt-hungry Mint a new home.

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I think that Evolution Robotics have a winner on their hands with the Mint automatic cleaner. It's well designed, quiet, clever and more importantly it means that you no longer have to clean the floors. What a time saver.


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