Narwal robot can both mop and vacuum, and replace its own dirty water
The robot cleaners we have tidying up our houses in the 21st century continue to get smarter and more efficient – such as the Narwal, which combines both vacuuming and mopping in one device, and can even replenish its own water tanks when it's done.
That all-in-one self-maintenance is sure to appeal to a lot of potential buyers, which helps explain why the device has raised almost 20 times its original goal on Kickstarter (and counting). Backing products on the crowdfunding site doesn't always guarantee getting some hardware at the end of it, but the Narwal looks as safe a bet as any.
With a 1800Pa motor on board, the Narwal promises strong and effective suction for dust and dirt, but it's really the mopping where this gadget excels. The device developers promise the Narwal can clean three times as efficiently as other robot mops, with two rounded triangle spin mops doing the dirty work.
Thanks to the 5 liter tank on the Narwal base station, which replaces dirty water with clean water on the roving cleaner itself, up to 2,150 square feet can be cleaned before you have to do any refilling.
The bot automatically trundles back to the base station when it needs fresh water, and it can wash all types of hard floors apparently – including vinyl, tile, hardwood and laminate.
What's more, using LiDAR technology and special on-board software, the Narwal is able to plot an optimized route across your floors and carpets, a route which gets updated with each pass and should get smarter over time.
As you would expect, everything can be controlled via an app on your phone, which lets you schedule cleaning routines, check on the status of the Narwal, set no-go areas in specific rooms, and so on.
At this stage you'll have to take the manufacturer's word for the scrubbing quality and speed of the Narwal robot, but if you want an automated cleaner that does just about everything, it's worth a look. Note that it can't vacuum and mop at the same time – you need to manually swap the modules over each time, and you also need to empty out the vacuumed dirt and debris manually.
There's also no support for Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa here, so it might not integrate quite as well with your smart home setup as some other robotic vacuums.
Early bird Kickstarter pledges start at US$549 for the Narwal, its base station, and all the accessories you need to get started. Shipping is estimated to start in September, if all goes to plan, and if you miss out on the Kickstarter you'll be able to buy a Narwal for $799 when it goes on sale. The video below has more.