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Look out Roomba, the Mint Sweeper uses GPS

Roomba isn’t the only robotic cleaning device on the scene now. The new Mint automatic floor cleaner is designed specifically for hard surfaces like wood and linoleum and uses most popular disposable cleaning cloths (Swiffer) and re-usable microfiber cloths for dry sweeping and wet mopping floors. The square shape allows it to reach all the way into corners. It uses the NorthStar System that works like an indoor GPS, with the NorthStar Cube emitting a signal that Mint uses to determine its location. Then Mint builds a map of the area as it cleans, marking walls, obstacles and drop offs as it encounters them. It’s available from Hammacher Schlemmer for $249.95.

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Fman52 September 20, 2010, 3:33 pm

    awesome

  • DStaal September 20, 2010, 4:06 pm

    It works fairly well too. ;)

  • Bob Deloyd September 21, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Interesting!

  • John Kes September 21, 2010, 3:25 pm

    If I used it in my house, it would be pushing an inch tall pile of dog hair after a while.

  • DStaal September 22, 2010, 2:11 pm

    That is it’s downside: It’s not a vacuum, so it will only pick up what a Swiffer (or equivalent) will pick up. Anything else it tends to push into corners. (Or under something it can’t get under itself.)

    One the other hand, it’d probably do OK against dog hair: Just run it every day or so, so the hair doesn’t have time to build up too much. It’s quiet and easy to run, so that’s not really a problem.

  • Julie September 23, 2010, 7:32 am

    @DStaal What’s the best gadget for really cleaning a hardwood / wood laminate floor? My computer room floor is laminate and I keep looking for something that will suck up the dust and grit and also clean it. I’ve yet to try the roomba. Since my computer room is only 11×12 or so, it seems to be a little overkill.

  • DStaal September 23, 2010, 12:27 pm

    I wouldn’t know the _best,_ myself: I’ve only got a Mint, and have never tried a Roomba. (I’ve pre-ordered a Neato XV-11 for the other half of my house, so whenever they stop ‘reviewing’ my order…)

    The Mint will easily take care of the dust and grit, and with the mop cloths (and mop mode) it does a pretty good job of cleaning it. You’d still want a dustpan (to pick up bigger things) and might need a scrubber occasionally for some spots. (Although if you run it on a regular basis it’s likely to prevent anything that would get so stuck-in that it couldn’t clean it out. I had a couple when I started, but once I scrubbed them up I haven’t seen any more.)

    The Mint isn’t really any smaller than a Roomba, and not all that much cheaper, so it’s still probably overkill for one room. It does not clean on a schedule, or charge itself either.

    For one mid-sized room, I’d probably get a Swiffer Wetjet or similar, and mostly use it in dry mode. You’d have to clean by hand, but that wouldn’t actually take all that much longer than the ‘put cloth on cleaner head, attach cleaner head, set on ground, start, come back and pick up, attach to charger, remove cloth from cleaner head’ process of the Mint. (That makes it sound much more complicated than it is. The point is a Swiffer or similar will clean the room in a minute or two, so there’s really no major time savings.)

    For me, over half my house is hardwood, laminate, or tile. I can set the Mint down, and it’ll clean most of the house in an hour or so without me doing anything. (I need to figure out how to order another Northstar station: It’s supposed to be able to switch between them as needed, and then it could do my entire downstairs, minus the kitchen (there’s a drop-off) at one time.) That makes it really useful, and means I’m now keeping those floors clean.

    For one room… It’s kinda fun to watch this thing move around, but even though you _can_ work in there while it’s cleaning, you’ll be in it’s way, and it’s not going to be a huge savings in time or effort. (Maybe a small one, depending.)

  • The Slapster September 26, 2010, 3:27 am

    I think there’s a very important, un-answered question here:

    Will the Mint hold a full-sized feline who wants to ride it around a large living area as it cleans? Because I know at least one of ours would try it, and that’s an expensive cat toy! (Seriously, is there a weight limit or anything listed)

  • Julie September 26, 2010, 9:26 am

    @The Slapster I want to see a video of a cat riding a Roomba :)

  • DStaal September 26, 2010, 10:35 am

    I don’t think there’s a weight limit listed, but if you’ll tell me the weight of the cat I can test it out. ;)

    Though, there are some considerations: First off, it’s smaller than a Roomba. And it’s not flat: It’s sloped. So it’d be a little harder for the cat to ride. (Not impossible though.)

    Lastly: The cat would have to sit on the black diamond in the center, and that’s a window for the NorthStar sensor. Which means that won’t work. Now, the Mint will work without the NorthStar System, but it’s limited to smaller areas then. (And it’s mapping isn’t as accurate.)

    (Also: It’s fairly likely the cat will hit the three buttons on the front. One of those is the power button…)

    @Julie: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cat+riding+roomba&aq=1

  • Julie September 26, 2010, 10:56 am

    @DStaal Wow… I’m disappointed in my cat now. All he does is sleep. ;)

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