Looks like Samsung's robot vacuum has broken up with its previous family and gotten a new girlfriend. To what do we attribute this new level of feisty cleaning effectiveness? A pair of pop-out brushes designed to help the round robot get dirt and dust out of square corners.
This whole round vacuums in square rooms is actually a (minor) issue for Roomba-type vacuums, and it's why the Neato has a square front. Roombas try to solve the problem with a spinny brush, but since the brush is mounted on the robot's round chassis, its reach is limited.
Samsung's new vacuum, the “Smart Tango Corner Clean,” has "pop-out brushes," and that's the extent of the information we have so far. Our guess, though, is that these brushes pop out whenever the robot senses that it's in a corner, allowing it to more effectively get dirt out of places where it doesn't really fit. It's kind of weird that it needs two, since the body of the vacuum is a circle that can rotate in place, but I guess symmetry is nice. It's not a bad idea, we're just left wondering how effective it really is, and how much it matters to the overall effectiveness of the vacuum.
Feel free to call me jaded on robot vacuums, but this is the type of incremental improvement that I've gotten a little bit tired of seeing. Does it clean better with the pop-out brushes? Yeah, probably, a little bit. Does it really matter? I doubt it. I'm a fan of innovation in any form, but when companies release new models that are 99 percent the same and that extra 1 percent isn't a game-changer, it's hard to get excited. I can recognize the commercial and marketing necessity to have an updated product line and whatnot, but what we really like are new robots that include a whole bunch of clever new features all at once, so that we can say, "yeah, this is a really good and worthwhile upgrade," as opposed to "if you already have a robot vacuum you don't need to care about this new one."
Having said all that, if these new pop-out brushes are blowing your mind, you'll probably have to go to Asia to pick up the new Samsung Tango Corner Clean, and we're guessing it'll cost you a minimum of $500 and perhaps significantly more. We'll likely find out for sure next week at CES.
Via [ Akihabara News ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.