Weekly Performance

Sunday, December 30, 2012

iCLEBO : Intelligent Cleaning Robot by YUJIN ROBOT

Intelligent Cleaning Robot
Official iCLEBO Site

Do you dread setting up and lugging the bulky vacuum cleaner around? Have you considered getting a vacuum cleaner robot to do your chore? Are you confused and lost with the many models out there in the market?
I hope this post helps you as I share with you about the Korean-made iCLEBO Arte.
iCLEBO Arte is the 2nd generation model of their robot vacuum cleaner. iCLEBO Arte is made by reputed Korean robotics manufacturer, YUJIN ROBOT. There are many vacuum cleaner robots out there in the market, from U.S.A., Korea, Taiwan and replicas from China. So which is the better choice? If you are after a cheap alternative and does not mind common shortcomings such ramming in furnitures, dropping off cliffs, loud noise, sweeper-only function, aimless movements, weak battery life, you can opt for China made replicas. Why put money into a device made by electronics manufacturer when you can invest in a robotics company? So why not a vacuum cleaner specialist brand? Major electronics companies are able to manufacture a decent vacuum cleaner with reliable and durable hardware. However, with robotic vacuum cleaners, you are looking beyond good hardware. You should be looking into their technology and software. Robots are mere machines if they do not have a smart software and processor controlling it. This puts YUJIN ROBOTS at the front, ahead of other major electronics manufacturers. So why not an iRobot? No doubt that when it comes vacuum cleaner robot,  iRobot immediately comes into mind. iCLEBO definitely outdo iRobot in many ways and in term of technical specifications. This site has done a good comparison of iCLEBO Smart (first generation model) against iRobot Roomba 530/560/570. In summary, iRobot uses a less intelligent navigation software, Ni-MH battery which suffers from memory-effect and a much smaller vacuum pump which gives weaker vacuum suction power. What about other Korean-made robot vacuum cleaners? If you are deciding between iCLEBO and other Korean models such as LG Roboking or Samsung Navibot, make sure you check out the video clip at the bottom of this post! iCLEBO wins both models hands-down. What were my considerations? I have previously considered getting a much more expensive robot, Kärcher Robocleaner RC3000 from vacuum cleaner specialist Kärcher, but the technology is rather backdated now, although it has got a unique auto-deposition of vacuum waste into its dock. The RC3000 costs around S$1,400. I was also studying iRobot Roomba 780, but technology of this flagship model is rather lack lustre. I needed a robot which is intelligent, programmable, energy-efficient, low-noise, reliable cleaning, easy maintenance and durable. iCLEBO seemed to fulfill all at a price cheaper than both Kärcher and iRobot. If you are not sure if it is durable, iCLEBO has been tested, validated and chosen by Philips as their OEM partner, however, you will not find the Philips HomeRun FC9901 model in Singapore.
Why choose iCLEBO Arte?
iCLEBO Arte is uses a 22W motor and the most powerful one in the market. With just 90 minutes of charging, iCLEBO Arte can complete 3h of cleaning. iCLEBO Arte utilizes an intelligent camera navigation guides it on the shortest route back to its docking station from anywhere in your home, where it re-charges/top-up charge and then returns to the position it stopped previously to finish-off the job. Since the battery used is a Li-ion polymer, it does not suffer from the dreaded "memory effect". iCLEBO Arte is undoubtedly the quiest vacuum cleaner robot in the market. Specifically designed brushes are able to maximise cleaning performance whilst reducing noise levels. The suction passes through a HEPA air filter to remove allergens and is very good for families with asthmatic children. Attributed to its intelligent alogrithms and 3 independent CPU, the iCLEBO Arte is able to virtually maps its route to ensure all areas are covered, no repeating and navigating the shortest route back home. iCLEBO navigates obstacles with its 7 infra-red sensors and the robot will stop if it senses an object in its path. In the event that it meets a blind-spot, the iCLEBO is equipped with a silicon touch bumper across the whole front which feedbacks any obstacles as well. iCLEBO do not just do sweeping and vacuum, it mops as well. Simply attach the Micro-Fibre mopping plate, iCLEBO becomes a robotic mopping/polishing robot.With the plate attached, the robot automatically avoids climbing onto carpets and focuses on the hard floor. iCLEBO Arte also comes with easy maintenance. The dustbin can be removed and washed, unlike iRobot machines. iCLEBO comes with all accessories and no additional purchases are required. For iRobot, you may need to purchase additional virtual wall lighthouse devices. iCLEBO utilizes a Area Boundary magnetic strip which tells the iCLEBO "Do Not Cross".

The iCLEBO Arte comes in a simple non-fancy export model packaging.

The standard contents include the iCLEBO Arte, Docking/Charging Station with cleaning brush (stored), Philips Power Adaptor, Mop Plate, 2 Mop Pads, 3 HEPA filters, Remote Control with batteries, Side Brushes R & L, Area Boundary Tape, Quick Start Guide and CD-ROM with user manual.
The authorized distributor gives additional mop pads and filters.

The Docking/Charging Station
The dock comes with a top storage for the cleaning brush and the rear is another storage compartment meant for the adaptor. Note: The Singapore version uses the Philips adaptor which apparently cannot fit into the rear storage compartment. However, if you want to, you can modify the wires a bit and squeeze the adaptor in.

Battery: Li-ion
Robot suction power motor: 22W; Charging power consumption: 0.9W
Charging time: 100 mins; Usage time: 180 mins
Weight: 2.8kg
Speed: 28 cm/s
Air filter: HEPA
Noise level: 55dB
Colors: Black and Silver (not available for SG)

Up Close of iCLEBO Arte
Unlike older iRobot machines, iCLEBO utilizes touch buttons.
The dustbin is easily removed by depressing the grey button.
The dustbin can be completely dismantled for washing.
Part of the maintenance is to clean the main sweeper brush. The brush comes with spiral brushes and "tracks". The "tracks" are meant to guide scissors when removing hair.
The wheels looks like that of an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle).
The front wheel has a hidden sensor to detect when maintenance is required.
Attaching on the side brushes.
The front soft-touch bumper with a silicon lining and the main switch for the robot.
iCLEBO Arte can be controlled via the touch buttons on the robot or via the remote control.
The remote control is also used to program your iCLEBO.

Ready, Steady, Go!

Watch the iCLEBO homes to its base.
If you have activated it from base, it will return to base.
If you have carried it to another spot to start, it will return to the starting spot.

(English version)

Technical Specifications

Vision Area Mapping Technology
This video explains the Vision Area Mapping Technology employed by iCLEBO.
It creates a virtual mapping of the area from the time it starts its "home" and maps the area it has covered, such that no repeating is done, i.e. a more efficient cleaning.

Sales tool for iCLEBO Smart
iCLEBO Smart is the first generation cleaning robot from iCLEBO.

Performance Comparison
(Comparison against leading Korean bots: Blue is LG Roboking, Red is Samsung Navibot)

User Experience
If you are after a reliable a vacuum cleaner robot, iCLEBO Arte does the job pretty well. It actually leaves no hair or particles in its tracks. It even swallowed a 50 cent coin! However, it does not pick up sticky particles. It cleverly climbs mats and carpets and avoided the 1.5cm cliff at my kitchen entrance. The robot is actually rather intelligent is navigating its way around my open rooms, under the tables and chairs. However, it missed an area because my huge dining table and chair legs probably created a no-through passage for the robot. I also realised that the machine tends to bump into walls and legs even if they are not the blind spots. I guess the surface probably did not respond to well to the IR sensors. Nevertheless, I did not worry to much as the bumper was only a soft-touch. I set the machine programmed to start on its own, and it went around the house doing its job automatically. I was doing other tasks and did not realize it going around as it was rather quiet. After around 50 mins, it started making its way from the furthest bedroom to its home base dock. I am remarkably pleased with the cleaning. iCLEBO is very efficient and its pick-up is much better than me going around with the Kao Magiclean wiper mop!

The iCLEBO is definitely cheaper than the iRobot Roomba 780. It may be more expensive than a good vacuum cleaner and less powerful, but it definitely does a good job leaving your floor almost spotless and ready for mopping. The iCLEBO is a worthy investment to make to relief your tedious sweeping and vacuum tasks. It may still miss an area, but it is understandable when you have a web of furniture legs around. The iCLEBO is also very quiet when working and does not disturb your sleep (provided you are not a light sleeper). iCLEBO comes with very easy maintenance. It is always good to wash and dry the dustbin. The iCLEBO comes with a modern pleasing appearance and a nice addition to your family!

Get your iCLEBO Arte today from the official authorized distributor MT18 Global.
There may be parallel imports at a lower cost but nothing beats getting a piece of mind with the service support from the authorized distributor. Note: I do not work MT18 Global or sell iCLEBO Arte.

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