Evolution Robotics Hits Retail Market With Floor Cleaner

Pasadena-based Evolution Robotics, the robotics technology startup backed by Idealab, said today that it has linked up with a number of retail partners on its Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner--the firm's entree into the household robot market. The firm--which has previously focused on licensing its technology to researchers, toy companies, and others--said it has inked deals to sell its robot through, Frontgate, Hammacher Schlemmer, Home Shopping Network, and SkyMall. Evolution Robotics said the robot will also be available in stores through national retail chains later this year. Evolution's Mint uses cleaning cloths--such the Swiffer dry and wet cloths--for floor cleaning, and uses algorithms developed by the firm to make sure a room is cleaned systematically.

Evolution Robotics branched out into the retail market in April, when it said it would start taking pre-orders for the Mint, and would make it available in Q3. The robot puts the firm in direct competition with Roomba. Evolution's technology has previously been licensed and used in products from Sony, Bandai, Sharper Image, and KDDI.

Evolution's Mint cleaner was awarded a Popular Mechanics' Editor's Choice award earlier this year at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. The company said that its design of the Mint makes it better able to clean along edges of walls and corners, unlike competing round robots. The firm also said it has included a number of sensors, including one to detect floor type, to adjust the traction of the robot's wheels.