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The Roomba j7+ learns to mop with a dramatic swing-arm setup

iRobot—soon to be owned by Amazon—is announcing a flagship Roomba with a new feature: It can vacuum and mop simultaneously. Meet the Roomba Combo j7+, a $1,100 combo cleaning robot that ships on October 4.

iRobot is not doing a ground-up redesign of the j7+ series to add mop functionality. In fact, the update almost looks like a retrofit. The new j7 looks just like the old j7 with a camera in the front, a big dust bin in the back, and a bottom layout that is almost identical to the old bot. There’s a new dust bin and… is that a rear spoiler?

The mop functionality lives on the top (yes, the top) of the j7+, which has a big rear cutout now. The top of this cutout is plastic, and the bottom is the wet mop pad, which is connected to the robot by two side arms. When it’s time to do some mopping, a dramatic, Transformers-like transition occurs. Two flaps on the side of the Roomba open up, revealing that the top mop cutout is actually connected to the robot by a pair of swing arms. The cutout section on top of the robot is lifted up and swings down and under the robot in a big, 180-degree motion. Now you’re dragging a wet mop pad across the floor with minimal changes to the layout of the j7+.

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