Ecovacs, a China-based robot cleaner maker, developed a robot that moves around and monitors a room and exhibited it at IFA 2012.
The company defines the robot, "Famibot," as a "home service robot" and expects that it will be used for monitoring a house in the absence of its owner, detecting/reporting smoke from fire early and turning off home appliances. It is scheduled to be launched in or after 2013.
Ecovacs is also engaged in the development of robots that clean floors and has already developed a product that looks like iRobot Corp's Roomba. The Famibot automatically moves around like Ecovacs' robot cleaner and takes pictures of a room with an embedded camera. Because the Famibot has a wireless LAN communication function and can be connected to a wireless LAN at home, it is possible to check images from the camera from outside the home by using a smartphone, etc.
Moreover, the Famibot is capable of detecting smoke, purifying air, wirelessly turning on/off home appliances in the house, etc, Ecovacs said. The company uses a nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable battery for its robot cleaner. So, the Famibot is probably equipped with a similar battery.
Ecovacs also exhibited the "Winbot," a robot that automatically cleans a window glass. It clings to a window with a vacuum pump. It can vertically move up and clean a window based on an automatically calculated route. The company demonstrated the robot cleaning a window, drawing attention from many visitors.