This Robot Mops and Vacuums Your Floors at the Same Time

It vacuums. It mops. It's a robot. What, that's not enough for you?

2 min read
This Robot Mops and Vacuums Your Floors at the Same Time

Robots are all about taking things that humans don't like to do, and doing them faster and smarter and better. Or in reality, doing them slower and dumber and generally not quite as well, but doing them, so that we can spend our time on more important things like watching really really bad TV. What tends to be rare for robots is the capability to do something like a household task more efficiently than a human can, but Moneual seems to have pulled it off with a new robot that can vacuum and mop at the same time.

Without a specially designed vacuuming and mopping contraption, asking a human to sweep and mop simultaneously usually results in an uncoordinated fiasco of tears and broken dreams. I speak from experience. It's certainly possible to buy said contraption, but then you have to develop an entirely new skillset to use it, and let's be honest, those parts of your brain would be much happier doing something else, like nothing at all.

So, let's just take a look at the Moneual Rydis H67, shall we? It's essentially what you'd get if a Roomba and a Mint (er, I mean, a Braava) had a drunken hookup, and then their resulting offspring ditched high school and moved to Europe for a few years and came back all worldly. Like a Roomba, you get a powerful vacuum and side brushes and pseudonavigation and all of that stuff, but like a Mint (Braava, dang it, it's Braava now), you can also slap a moist microfiber cloth onto the bottom for some wet and juicy mopping action. Up to five hours of it, which is stamina that we can all envy.

The Rydis also includes a special "Shadow Active Cleaning Mode," which "detects and performs concentrated cleaning in areas that do not receive direct light such as underneath couches and beds, so your home is clean even in the places you can't see." Look, robot, the shadowy areas in my house that I can't see are shadowy and hidden for a reason. I don't want to see them. You don't want to see them. Neither of us wants to disturb of what's probably evolved to survive in those sorts of places, because I'm pretty sure that it's already stealing yogurt out of the fridge and signing for packages when I'm not home, and the next logical step is an apocalypse of the sort that would make the robot apocalypse that we keep hearing about seem like a unicorn's birthday party.

What's especially unusual about the Rydis is that you can buy it here in the U.S., which typically doesn't happen with round robot vacuums that might remind you of certain other round robot vacuums. In fact, it's available in Best Buy right now for $400.

[ Moneual Rydis H67 ] via [ Gizmodo ]

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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