Saturday, May 25, 2024

iRobot Roomba j7+ robot vacuum uses AI to avoid pet poop

iRobot’s Roomba robot vacuum cleaners have come a long way in the last two decades. Roombas have steadily evolved from being fairly dumb robotic dirt suckers to devices that are smart enough to empty their own bins.

Now, the American robot company has announced its new Roomba robot vacuum, the Roomba j7+, that uses a built-in camera and machine learning technology to recognize objects and avoid obstacles like pet waste and charging cords in real-time. The new vacuum can detect obstacles even in low-light conditions.

Aesthetically, the Roomba j7+ retains the round shape common to most iRobot robot vacuums but is adorned with a new spun metal coating. An important change in its design that has consequences on navigation is the position of the camera, which goes from the usual upper area to be located in the front and adding light. Equipped with an ultra-wide-angle lens, the camera spots obstacles, and image-recognition algorithms trained on iRobot’s dataset can determine whether that obstacle appears to be poop. With its PrecisionVision Navigation, the j7+ can not only detect specific objects but also alert you to obstacles in the iRobot app after a cleaning job.

iRobot is so confident in its new technology that it’s offering the j7+ with a P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise) guarantee: If the robot fails to avoid solid pet waste within a year of your purchase, the company will give you a new one for free. This should go a long way toward making pet parents feel more comfortable with the Roomba.

In addition to the crap stuff, the robotic vacuum cleaner comes with a new Clean Base that automatically empties its bin between cleanings. iRobot has also given a twist to the design of the base by making it flatter, so you should be able to tuck it into an unobtrusive corner or under a table. If the battery is low, patented Smart Recharge and Resume means the robot charges only as long as needed before finishing the job.

The j7+ is powered by iRobot’s new Genius 3.0 software, which will also roll out to the rest of the company’s connected vacuums. The new OS smarts will also let Roombas automatically suggest room labels as they map out your home. The Roomba j7+ is now available for the price of $850.