This week the IFA 2012 is being held in Berlin, Germany, and consumer electronics products from around the world are being shown there. Among the robotic set are some household robots from Chinese manufacturer ECOVACS that has been marketing its own line of Roomba-like vacuum cleaners since the year 2000. Their vacuum robots cost between $270~$470 USD depending on the model.
Winbot is a two-piece window cleaning robot that (similar to the Windoro) uses magnets to cling together on either side of a pane of glass. It then follows a zig-zag motion and uses a combination of cleaning solution and three sets of micro-fiber scrubbers to clean the window. However, unlike the Windoro which can handle a glass thickness up to 25 mm the Winbot is only good up to 12 mm (no thicker than 0.4 inches). You can change the magnetic attraction by turning the handle until an indicator light says everything is optimal, and you’ll want to be careful because the user manual says the magnets are strong enough to crack or shatter the glass! The Winbot costs around $400 USD.
In addition the company is marketing a new home service robot called Famibot that has a built-in music player, air purifier, and smoke detector. You can control the robot using an iOS or Android app, which allows you to drive the robot, control appliances (heat and television), and record video using its camera. The robot also has some autonomy, which it uses to trundle around your house looking for intruders while you’re way. If it detects any suspicious motion, it automatically sends you a text asking if you want to investigate.
The Famibot comes with a self-charging station which it can return to autonomously when its batteries get low, and is expect to be priced under $1,500 USD. That seems like an awful lot compared to a home security system, which would probably do a better job keeping home intruders at bay. Still, we can’t help but smile at ECOVACS’ marketing line of “So many abilities but still so modest”.