Robot smackdown on hardwood floors

The Roomba's mopping cousin has competition

Be warned, a robot war is brewing. The battlefront: Your kitchen floor.

The RoboMop

iRobot--maker of the unlikely consumer hit the Roomba--has gone virtually unchallenged as it cleaned up (sorry) the market in automated carpet vacuums. Competitors are starting to come forth, however, such as one from Evolution Robotics. Now, the Roomba may meet yet another formidable opponent on hard surfaces, this one from Europe.

Last year, iRobot came out with the Scooba, a wet-cleaning device, for $400. That has since been cut to $300, but it's still way more than the price of rival RoboMop--a Norwegian-made bot for non-carpeted floors that sells outside the United States for about $56. Shiny Shiny, where we learned of the RoboMop, says it has a 98 percent accuracy rate too. Still, it has a long way to go: RoboMop has yet to prove, for example, that it's got as much personality as the Roomba and Scooba.

(Photo: RoboMop International)

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