Robots are supposed to do our dirty work, so why not have them deal with the unenviable task of cleaning the outsides of our windows? It's certainly been done before, but here at CES 2013 we've just had the opportunity to try out a new model, the Winbot 7 from Ecovacs. Like a Roomba (as well as other window-cleaning robot competitors), the Winbot 7 automatically moves along your window surface while cleaning and squeegeeing the glass. What makes this robot better than the rest is that it uses a vacuum seal to stick onto the window instead of a separate magnet piece that similar products use.
To clean a window using the Winbot, you plug it in to a power port, spray the cleaning pads with a solution, place it against the window, and turn it on. The vacuum then grabs hold, and the robot will first drive down to the bottom of the window frame (and then the top) to measure the surface. From there, it zig-zags to clean the entire window before returning to its original location. The Winbot only does this one pre-programmed route, though if you'd like to control it manually there is a remote. If you're a bit afraid of sticking a robot onto your window, Ecovacs tells us that the robot has a backup battery that will maintain suction in the event of a power outage while the Winbot drives down to the bottom of the window. There's also a suction cup connected to the cord that will prevent the robot falling to the ground should the connection fail.
There are two models of the Winbot 7 — the W710 and W730 — both are identical save for a sensor that detects the edge of frameless windows, which is only present in the latter. Both will be on sale this spring for about $399.