Pet owners have always found robot vacuums to be a little dangerous. Leaving a robovac to do its thing in your absence can be a problem if your less-than-perfectly-trained dog or cat also does its thing while youre out. You can get an idea of the results by doing a quick Google search for Roomba dog poop. Unheeding robots equipped with spinning brushes will hurl the mess around and spread it all over the house.
iRobot, a Roomba maker, has said that it has solved this scatological problem. Roomba's newest robotvac, the Roomba J7+, utilizes machine vision and artificial intelligence to detect and avoid all types of pet messes. It is a huge deal for us, Colin Angle, iRobot CEO and founder, tells The Verge. It's something we have been working on for a while and are confident that it will work.
We are a guarantee that it works
This is a crucial point. Angle doubts that robovacs such as the Roborock S6 MaxV or 360 Smart Life robot vacuum can avoid the same mess. However, Angle believes they are reliable. Angle claims that iRobot has been researching the problem for many years and even created a large database of pet mess to train its AI vision systems.
Robotics is supposed be glamorous. Angle says that he doesn't know how many Play-Doh models we made of poo. There are many, many thousands of them. This is a result of the company's unwavering confidence in its poop-identifying abilities. He says that our competition is now claiming they can do this too. However, it's more like they do it at CES with the right lighting. We felt the need for us to draw a line and state that this is real and not a joke. We won't let you down if you have a pet.
The fact that iRobot's new robot vacuum cleaner is designed to avoid dog hair gives an indication of the difficulties and the progress made with these machines. While they have improved in efficiency and utility over time, there are still basic problems when it comes to cleaning the carpet.
New cleaning modes and features are available with an upgrade to iRobots Genius software
iRobot hopes to address some of these issues with an update to its navigation software called iRobot Genius. It was originally launched for compatible Roombas in August 2013. It not only maps the user's homes to provide more detailed cleaning instructions but also uses machine vision to identify furniture or specific clean zones.
Version 3.0 of iRobot Genius launches today as a free upgrade. The new features include a Quiet Drive mode that stops the robot making noises when it is moving between cleaning jobs; estimated cleaning times for specific rooms; better mapping capabilities, including suggestions for room names based upon the robot's ability to identify furniture items; and a Clean While I Am Away function. If people wish, they can give iRobot access their phone location and it will start a cleaning session whenever they leave the house.
The most significant update is for the Roomba J7+, which uses a new camera not only to detect dog waste but also other potentially dangerous obstacles like socks, shoes and headphones. This is done with onboard machine vision but requires some action from the owner. The connected app will ask the Roomba if it finds an unusual obstacle. If it is permanent, such as dangling TV cable cables, the Roomba will create a no clean zone.
Angle explains that iRobots products should feel more like a friend than a tool. Instead of being a tool, they should be trusted to anticipate the owners' wishes. He says that we all know the time and where we are located in our home. We also know the layout of each room. Technology should be treated with respect and held to the same standards as our home.
This is also how the company wants its products to be different from other cheaper alternatives. Roomba's new Roomba J7+ is $849 and comes with a base station that can hold up to 60 days of dirt. This is a significant savings compared to basic robovacs. Angle claims that iRobots offer free software updates, both now and in the near future, which should encourage customers to opt for them.
The new Roomba J7+ has the following features: a new high-end design, simplified control system (three buttons instead one), Bluetooth LE to make it easier to onboard, and a beveled rim to prevent the machine from getting trapped under refrigerators and cabinets. The Roomba j7+ is now available in the USA and Canada via iRobots. It will also be available at select retailers starting September 19th. You can also purchase it without the cleaning station for $649.