iRobot Roomba update uses AI to avoid knocking over your Christmas tree

The image is called Roombaj7_LifestyleHero.

The j7 Plus was released this year.

The image is of iRobot.

iRobot has released a holiday themed update for its latest robot vacuum cleaners to help them deal with the cleaning demands of Christmas trees. The j7 and j7 Plus can identify and avoid shoes and socks.

The festive trees, shoes, and socks feature builds upon iRobot's latest navigation and control software, which was released in August last year. The software uses machine vision to identify furniture. If you want a Roomba to specifically clean under the dining table after a chaotic family meal, you might have a dining table. The area under a TV stand filled with cables is a "keep out zones" which a Roomba might suggest avoiding.

The data can be transferred from robot to robot.

The j7 and j7 Plus will be able to suggest a "clean zone" around the tree, where you can direct it to vacuum up pine needles, and a "keep out zone" in the middle to stop it from bumping into the tree. I have never had a problem with a Roomba knocking over a Christmas tree, but it is helpful to be able to specifically direct it to vacuum around a tree, rather than having it vacuuming the whole room along with it. The holiday tree recommendations update started rolling out yesterday.

iRobot initially announced socks and shoes avoidance alongside the j7 Plus's dog poop detecting feature in September, but at the time said it would be added with a firmware update later this year. It is a potentially useful feature given how much of a problem shoelaces can be. The j7 and j7 Plus can detect and avoid cords, as well as shoes, socks, and pet mess.

iRobot says that its smart mapping features can now transfer their maps from one robot to another. It should be helpful for anyone who wants to upgrade their Roomba to a second model, like the Braava jet m6. Rather than having to map your home afresh, the company's robots that support its smart mapping technology can now automatically transfer their maps to a new robot. The feature started rolling out on October 13th.

iRobot has a number of discounts on its robots. The Braava jet m6 robot mop is discounted by $100, while the j7, j7 Plus and i3 Plus are discounted by $200.