Now that they can reliably navigate your home, avoid trouble, and run for hours, we’re starting to see other innovations introduced for robot vacuums. The HaierTab Tabot not only includes a built-in mop and a removable hand vac, it’s also the first robovac that can cut hair so it’s easier to vacuum up.
But before you get your hopes up about finding a solution to not being able to visit a hairdresser, the Tabot isn’t designed to be a modern replacement for the Flowbee – the last thing you’d want to do is try and stick this robovac on your head. The Tabot’s innovative hair cutting feature is instead designed to minimize maintenance by preventing long hairs from getting wrapped and tangled up around its spinning brush.
If you live with someone with shoulder-length hair or longer (or a dog with a majestic long coat) you’re familiar with the annoyance of having to either occasionally disassemble part of your vacuum to clear hairs off the brush, or go at it with a pair of scissors in an attempt to clean out a tangled nightmare. The HaierTab Tabot promises to take care of that for you. The spinning brush is upgraded with a pair of cutting teeth that slide against each other, similar to how an electric shaver cuts a beard, to automatically slice up longer hairs as they wrap around it, preventing them from getting permanently tangled. Instead, the shorter hairs are then easily sucked into the robovac’s bin for easier disposal later.
That alone makes the Tabot worth considering over other robovacs already on the market, but Haier has made its new cleaner an even more enticing package with a built-in mopping mechanism that includes a cleaning pad and water tank. It can mop floors and vacuum at the same time, so it deals with both larger debris and finer dust in one pass, or you can fill the tank with a sanitiser to disinfect floors as part of your cleaning routine.
Using a laser scanner perched on top, the robovac is able to detect and avoid obstacles while following a pre-planned efficient cleaning route calculated ahead of time based on the size and shape of a room. Using a free accompanying app, you can also define virtual barriers that keep the robot from crossing over into areas you don’t want it to clean (or, more likely, areas you don’t want it to accidentally suck up something left on the floor) or simply direct the robot to a specific room in your house that needs a clean.
Even with all those sensors and autonomy there are still lots of places in a home a robovac can’t touch, such as every single dust collecting surface that’s not the floor. So like the Coral One we previously reviewed, the HaierTab Tabot features a removable hand vac, with cleaning accessories, allowing users to manually tidy up other areas where a robovac can’t tread.
For whatever reason, Haier is releasing the Tabot to consumers through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that's already raised more than a hundred grand over its modest £4,019 funding goal – and there's still 26 days left. As crowdfunded projects go, this one is going to be minimal risk, as Haier is already a giant company with factories and all the infrastructure and experience needed to successfully bring a product to market. If you’re interested, it looks like the cheapest point of entry is currently the £356 Early Bird contribution option, which is actually on the cheaper side for robovacs these days, particularly given the functionality Haier is including with the Tabot.