If your robotic vacuum can't help with spills and stains, fret not. Its cousin, the robo-mop, is on the way.
Thirty engineers worked three years on challenges such as preventing the robo-mop from slipping on cleaning fluid or leaving tracks behind, said Colin Angle, chief executive of the mop's developer, iRobot Corp. Those sticking points solved, a robo-mop called Scooba will be available early next year.
IRobot Corp. is best known for Roomba, the robo-vacuum it introduced three years ago. About 1.2 million Roombas have been sold.
Scooba has many of Roomba's features but it's more complicated because it's designed to automatically vacuum, scrub and dry hard floors rather than just vacuum them.
At 13 inches in diameter and 4 inches high, Scooba resembles the disc-shaped Roomba. One difference is its two tanks, one for water mixed with cleaning fluid developed by Clorox Co., the other for dirty water.
Scooba sprays and scrubs water and cleaning fluid onto the floor as the robot's front end passes over. The back end sucks the liquid into the dirty water tank.
Scooba's price will be comparable to Roomba, which sells from $150 to $300 for various models.