Despite the fact that the majority of those reading this live in homes with cornered rooms, the most popular robot vacuum cleaners (including the latest Roomba models) have a distinctly circular shape. While early LG Hom-Bots also followed this trend, there's change in the air. The company debuted its new line of Square cleaners in Place Beaubourg, Paris earlier this week. They will first appear in France ahead of a global launch in 2013.
The flattened disc-shape of today's best-selling robotic vacuum cleaners may well give them the ability to creep under the lowest furniture in our living spaces with ease, but when it comes to corners, they're not so hot. LG aims to solve this shortfall by taking an angular approach to the problem and giving its latest robot cleaner flat sides and corners of its own.
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The 340 x 340 x 89-mm (13.3 x 13.3 x 3.5-inch) Hom-Bot Square features dual camera visual mapping technology called Dual Eye 2.0, corner-detecting sensors, built-in ultrasonic and infrared sensors that allow for effective operative in unlit rooms, and gyroscopic sensor and anti-collision technology to help keep it on course with minimum fuss or interruption. There's a Turbo Mode for an extra performance boost, a Smart Mode which auto detects changes in floor types and alters the system accordingly, and seven zone programs.
The new Corner Master brushes are 1.5 cm (0.5 inch) longer than in the previous model, but the Hom-Bot Square is almost as quiet at just 60 dBA. It benefits from a long-lasting Li-pol battery (14.8V/1900 mAh) and automatically returns to its base for recharge or when the 0.6-liter easy-out dust bin with HEPA 11 filter needs some attention. Voice guidance and learning capabilities also feature.
The Hom-Bot Square is currently showing as in stock on the online store of French consumer electronics retailer Darty, for €599 (US$775).
Update: LG has just confirmed that Hom-Bot Square models will carry a suggested retail price of between €499 and €699 in France (the company's French blog states that four versions are being released), and that U.S. pricing has yet to be decided.
Product page: Hom-Bot SquareView gallery - 9 images