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iRobot Introduces New Scooba 390, Ducky Not Included

iRobot updates their line of floor washing robots with the Scooba 390

2 min read
iRobot Introduces New Scooba 390, Ducky Not Included

Today, iRobot is introducing the new Scooba 390. No, it's not the little round robot in the picture above: that's the Scooba 230. And no, it's not the yellow thing either: that's a ducky, and it's sold separately. The Scooba 390 (in the back of the pic, if you're still wondering) is a lot like its predecessor, the Scooba 380. It's nothing completely new or revolutionary, but there are a few unique features that we're at least a little bit excited about.

iRobot is highlighting several differences between the 390 and previous Scooba models. First, the battery life is 30 percent better thanks to "Extended Power Life Management." We're not entirely sure what that means, and better battery life is one of those things that is sort of obligatory with even an incremental upgrade, but it's certainly not a bad thing, and the 390 can clean up to 450 square feet (42 square meters) per run.

Next, iRobot points out that the 390 has a simplified interface that's easier to use, and while the buttons have been labeled a bit better, what they're really talking about is the fact that the 390 is easier to clean and maintain. Every part that you might need to pay attention to is now clearly marked with orange icons, as you can see in this pic:

I'm a big fan of this feature because iRobot is clearly acknowledging that while everyone's fantasy is to have a robot that can clean your floors all by itself, the reality is that Scoobas (and Roombas) take a fair amount of maintenance, and if you don't keep them clean, they'll start to do a lousy job and even damage themselves. With that in mind, the company has decided to encourage you to get down and dirty with the guts of your robot by making it as straightforward as possible to do so.

Otherwise, the Scooba 390 is just a replacement for the Scooba 380, and if you already have a 380, you're not missing out on too much. We always like to complain about how "new" robots like the 390 are simply incremental upgrades to existing platforms and don't represent a whole heck of a lot of innovation, but that's because we're spoiled brats. Honestly, when companies like Neato and iRobot put out an upgraded product, we know they've put a lot of work into it and that they need it to be commercially successfully in order to fund whatever the next generation is that they're secretly working on. This doesn't mean we're not going to stop expecting newness and greatness, but it does mean that we're going to do our best to be patient until it arrives.

iRobot's Scooba 390 is on sale now for US $499, the same price as the Scooba 380 that it replaces.

[ iRobot ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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