Other Gadgets

Milagrow iMAP 9.0: Fast, smart and does the job on its own

Mala Bhargava | Updated on May 27, 2020

This made-for-India robotic vacuum cleaner has wet and dry cleaning and you can even throw in some disinfectant

Cleaning has become the one preoccupation of homes and business establishments in these times of the pandemic. Not only have we become more conscious of hygiene, we also have the time to clean, locked down in our homes, or facing emptier spaces in offices.

But it’s hard work to keep up for months on end. Some places like hospitals, of course, need continuous cleaning with barely any letup. That’s where robotic vacuum cleaners could come into their own.

Robotic equipment maker Milagrow recently launched its iMAP 9.0 vacuum cleaning robot and deployed it in hospitals like AIIMS. The machine is also usable in homes, though many would argue that Indian homes are too small and stuffed with objects to be suitable candidates for automatic cleaning and our cities too dusty and dirty to make robotic cleaning feasible.

Looking at my own apartment, I think a product like Milagrow’s iMAP 9.0 would help, but I would be annoyed at having to then go and tackle corners manually. All the same, considering it can both seep up dirt and mop, I might have been interested if I hadn’t already spent on vacuum cleaning gear. The iMAP 9.0 is one of those round puck-like machines of the type we’ve seen from other companies, notably, iRobot and, these days, Xiaomi’s crowdfunded Mi Robot which many would like to try out.

In and for India

Meanwhile, the iMAP 9 is manufactured in India and for India, where wet cleaning is as important as dry. In fact, if you mix disinfectant solution with the water in its tank, you can actually sanitise the floor. Milagrow says you can put in a sodium hypochlorite solution and kill infective Covid spores on the ground. It further says iMap 9.0 comes with an optional health ion generator which produces anions to strengthen the immune system, prevent respiratory disorders, and even claims to reduce stress, improve oxygen in bloodstream, improve mood, reduce depression and anger. That sounds like you can do away with your therapist.

The iMAP 9 does the job on its own. It has the brushes and mopping patch inside and all you really need to do is turn the power on. In fact, if you aren’t there, you can schedule it to start off and do the job using the companion app. Like similar robot cleaners, it has sensors to see where it is and avoid obstacles. Even if it bumps into anything, it’s a light touch and it then turns away to circumvent the object to continue cleaning. It climbs reasonable obstacles like room dividers or gets on top of a carpet or rug to clean that too, with its separate brushes.

The robot uses a laser sensing technology and a patented Real Time Terrain Recognition Technology (RT2RT) to move about. According to Milagrow, it’s faster than anything else. One can operate an entire fleet of such robots in places like hospitals and large offices where the machines will do better because of the extent of open floor spaces. The robot is even intelligent enough to remember what is unfinished and take up where it left off, should its run time of approximately one hour be up.

Fun to watch

Once it’s been through your home or office, the robot maps the area, as you can see anytime in the app. With that in place, you can now ask it to clean certain specific areas and stop it from going around to others, should you need to. It’s silent and carries on until it runs out of charge or finishes and goes back to its docking station to click back onto place. The one really nice thing is that it’s sheer fun to watch. You can get addicted to watching the round thing go about with some suspense thrown in for when it nears an object.

The only problem is that it really can’t tackle cables and other tangly things like shoelaces lying around on the floor. Any vacuum cleaner would have a problem with that, of course. Eventually, though, it’s not true that it continues on without human intervention. Tanks need to be filled, bins emptied, and filters kept in good condition.

Price: ₹79,990, available widely online

Pros: Automatic working, app controllable, fast, can take in disinfectants, intelligent with ability to use its mapping for subsequent jobs

Cons: Expensive, has a small tank and bin, battery runs out in an hour or so, finds corners difficult, needs care

Published on May 27, 2020

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