Mint works like a hands-free Swiffer. Snap a wet or dry wipe onto the removable cleaning pad under its belly -- any brand will do -- then press go, and the robot starts scrubbing your hard-surface floors, guided along by a wireless beacon. Mint finds and follows walls, where dust conspires against the average broom, and sensors keep Mint from marching onto a rug or pitching down a flight of stairs. All while you sit, smugly doing nothing. Here's a video. Watch Mint go!
The technology's great and everything, but it's the design, by Yves Béhar's fuseproject, that makes the product. The robot has only three buttons, and the cleaning pad, which you have to pop off to remove the disposable wipes, snaps back into place magnetically, fuss-free. Without that simple interface, Mint would be just another complicated gadget gathering dust at Hammacher Schlemmer.
Then there's the overall aesthetic, which seems to owe more than a nod to Apple: thin, rounded corners, white plastic face. Minty fresh.
The gadget won silver in the 2010 International Design Excellence Awards last month. According to the product's Web site, it'll be available in the United States this summer.
For more IDEA award winners, click here.