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iRobot unveils super-compact Scooba 230, new Roomba 700 series

Ross Miller

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Our friends at iRobot have shrunken its hardwood cleaning child -- not Roomba, the other one -- to about half the diameter of its predecessors (6.5 inches). The Scooba 230 is maintains the same 3.5-inch height and, more importantly, is just as programmable as every other model (in an unfortunate twist of irony, it's now thinner than a Kinect sensor). Speaking of Roomba, the company's also unveiling the new 700 series with a number of cleaning and detection improvements. All autonomous cleaning discs will be available in the Sprint from iRobot's online store with the prices ranging from a penny under $300 for Scooba 230 and $450 / $500 / $550 for the Roomba 760, 770, and 780. More shots / hands-on below; full details in the press release after the break.

Gallery: iRobot Scooba 230 hands-on | 6 Photos

Gallery: iRobot Scooba 230 and Roomba 700 series | 15 Photos

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iRobot® Scooba® 230 floor washing robot

The world's smallest floor washing robot, the iRobot Scooba 230 scrubs your tile, linoleum and sealed hardwood floors. Scooba never uses dirty water to wash your floors. The compact robot easily cleans in tight spaces, including under and around cabinets and furniture and next to the toilet. With Scooba, you get cleaner floors more often.

Let the robot do the dirty work.

Scooba 230 washes floors clean – on its own. The robot's three-stage cleaning system washes, scrubs and squeegees your floors to ensure they are thoroughly clean. Scrubbing brushes loosen and get rid of dirt and stubborn stains. The robot uses a squeegee and a vacuum to pick up virtually all the water on the floor, so your floor dries fast.

The robot's water management system includes a flexible bladder that keeps the cleaning solution and the dirty water separate inside the robot. While the robot is cleaning, the bladder shrinks in size as cleaning solution is put down on the floor, freeing up space in the robot to hold the dirty water that is being picked up.

Small and Mighty.

Scooba 230 is compact; at 3.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches in diameter (about the size of a soup bowl and about half the diameter of the iRobot Scooba 330, 350 and 380), the robot easily cleans in hard-to-reach places, including under and around furniture and next to the toilet. The robot is adaptable, based on your specific cleaning needs; choose either the standard cleaning cycle or a shorter 20-minute cycle for cleaning smaller rooms.

The robot maximizes cleaning by adapting to your unique household environment; iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology monitors the cleaning environment 64 times per second, using multiple sensors and more than 40 behaviors to ensure the entire floor is thoroughly cleaned.

Easy to use.

Scooba 230 is very easy to use; just press the Clean button and the robot does the dirty work. Scooba knows which areas to clean and those to avoid. Virtual wall technology keeps the robot in the rooms you want to clean and out of the ones you don't. Cliff sensors ensure the robot automatically avoids stairs and drop-offs while cleaning. Scooba uses a series of lights and chimes to communicate, letting you know when it has successfully finished cleaning or needs your attention for something, such as cleaning the brushes. A built-in handle makes it easy to carry the robot with one hand. The bottom plate of the robot snaps on and off without tools, making it fast and easy to rinse the scrubbing brushes and the squeegee after each use; there's no other maintenance needed.

iRobot Roomba® 700 Series (760, 770, 780)

New features and upgrades include:

· Incorporates iAdapt™ Responsive Cleaning Technology, the most actively intuitive robotic technology, giving the most thorough cleaning results.

· Newly refined, sleeker design

· New AeroVac™ Series II Bin bin with a powerful vacuum that maximizes air flow through Roomba's cleaning head to pull hair and debris off the brushes and into the bin

· HEPA-Type Filter that keeps fine household dust from re-circulating into your home

· Specially designed compliant Soft-Touch Bumper polymer coating to protect walls and furniture from possible scratches

· Battery has 50% longer life than previous Roomba generations, cleaning up to four regular sized rooms on one charge

· Persistent Pass Cleaning Pattern – when Roomba senses excessive dirt and debris, it uses a brush-like, back and forth motion to focus its cleaning effort in the dirty area it has detected

· Convenient carrying handle is built into the top of Roomba

· Greater autonomy from Full Bin Indicator light, which turns on when Roomba's optical sensor detects a full dust bin (Roomba 770 and 780)

· Debris Detector uses an optical sensor to detect larger, soft particles on the floor like popcorn, lint or paper chads, so Roomba can respond by focusing its cleaning pattern to ensure deeper, concentrated cleaning in that area (Roomba 770 and 780)

· A Wireless Command Center to easily control Roomba remotely (Roomba 780)

· Capacitive sensor touchpad as the user interface to eliminate mechanical buttons (Roomba 780)

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