Like Daleks and cows, stairs present a real problem to robot vacuums. That makes them an excellent housework companion if you happen to live in a flat or are disciplined enough to keep your skin and hair shedding to a single floor, but it makes them a little limited to those lucky enough to have more than one floor.
That’s why Migo Robotics’ upcoming Ascender robot vacuum and mop could be a game changer. As the rendered video below shows, on approaching a staircase, the rectangular robot will unleash its inner Transformer, popping out some stilts for its middle section to jump up onto the next step, before each set of wheels follows one after the other.
No, it’s not exactly graceful, but it gets there in the end. And what’s more, it still has enough energy to vacuum the step before it calls on its built-in stilts again to rise to the next platform.
Quite what this exertion will do to battery life is anybody’s guess — and Migo Robotics isn’t providing any battery details at all. It will, however, cover an area of up to 5,167 square feet — though that presumably is lessened if it has to keep climbing stairs.
Migo Robotics isn’t a household name, but it claims some of its team’s CVs will sound familiar. The site claims it features “outstanding experts from Google, Boston Dynamics, Dyson, and Ecovacs, working to drive innovation in the industry”.
The Ascender doesn’t exist yet, but the company is allowing people to register their interest in the vacuum for a protected August release date with a US$5 (~NZ$8) deposit. That will apparently unlock a US$999 (~NZ$1,642) price point — a decent saving on the predicted US$1,399 (~NZ$2,300) final RRP.
That feels a little bit like a crowdfunding incentive, and if the giant pile of failed Kickstarter campaigns tell us anything, it’s that you should never pledge money that you can’t afford to lose. Even if you’re desperate for a robot vacuum that can climb stairs, tread carefully.