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iRobot’s Roomba Is Back

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Well no, it’s not quite as music-savvy as Park and Recreations’ DJ Roomba, but it definitely knows how to work a room better than any of the cast members. Electronics manufacturer, iRobot’s popular vacuuming robot now has mapping capabilities (and as a result, depth perception), and it can be controlled remotely from your Smartphone via Wi-Fi.

One of the major flaws in previous models of the Roomba was its inability to direct itself. Instead of sticking to a targeted area and vacuuming in a patterned sequence, the cleaning bot would function by randomly zooming about the room. The idea was that in spite of its unordered movement, the Roomba would eventually clean the entire floor of a given space. While this could work in theory, it doesn’t necessarily work in practice.

Well summarized in a review online, the authors put it simply, “a robotic vacuum is like an electric shaver. It does a good job but it doesn’t get super close.”

The attempt to combat this flaw has resulted in the Roomba 980, which is equipped with a camera and sensors that help it map the room as it cleans, as well as Wi-Fi capability connecting it to a user’s Smartphone, which in turn can be used to remotely control the robot vacuum. For its part, the vacuum plans a path trajectory all on its own, moving in orderly rows.

In terms of its abilities via remote control, Roomba 980 owners can schedule their own cleanings cycles, even from long distance, as well as turn it on and off from within the house.

See video below for more info on the new product from iRobot.