The new Roomba operating system has no new features, but vast dreams

Enlarge / iRobot Roomba j7+ robot vacuum.

Roomba launched the iRobot operating system Tuesday to point out the advanced software capabilities of its household cleaning robots. As of this writing, it’s only renaming the two-year-old Genius Home Intelligence AI platform, but the company aims for it to be a leading computer vision platform that differentiates its robot vacuums and mops and eventually moves on to other products, such as air purifiers.

iRobot OS does not yet include any new features, but represents iRobot’s focus on “superior software intelligence,” said Colin Angle, president and CEO of iRobot, in a statement shared in Roomba’s announcement. .

As it stands, Roomba’s iRobot OS-powered devices use computer vision to avoid, depending on the product, up to 80 “common objects,” like cords, socks, and, what’s so important. , animal waste. The operating system is pet-friendly by including features like “Keep Out Zones” so your dog doesn’t start fighting with your robot vacuum when it’s around the food bowl. It can also recommend cleaning schedules, including based on when your furry friend tends to shed. If you want to see everything iRobot OS has to offer, the most powerful iteration is the Roomba J7 series. The device was released in September and uses a front-facing camera with computer vision to understand the layout of its surroundings better than any other iRobot robot.

It’s also worth noting that iRobot added new features to its Wi-Fi-connected Roomba vacuums and Braava jet mops in March. New features include the ability for the Roomba J7 series to avoid clothes, towels, and other new objects, as well as customization options, such as room-specific cleaning preferences, Siri Shortcuts integration , Child & Pet Lock, and Do Not Disturb. Updates are rolling out until the end of June.

In an interview with The edge released on Tuesday, Angle said iRobot OS will soon be part of other iRobot products, including Aeris air purifiers. Angle told The Verge that the company is developing Aeris products to know when no one is around so it can use turbo mode and then a quieter mode when someone is home. iRobot acquired Aeris in November.

Angle also shared with the publication his openness to using the Matter smart home standard to find better context for using his technology. The Verge reported that “iRobot is active in Matter and its IP-based protocol is one of the options to implement this vision, but they are still working on privacy and security issues around how these connections happen and what you’re allowed to do,'” according to Angle. This would include streamlined setup processes where products know when you’ve added a new item to the environment, like a speaker or a toaster.

Finally, Angle touched lightly on the robots “reaching out and doing physical chores around the house,” but didn’t detail the concrete plans. Last week, Dyson announced it was working on robots with arms that can pick up objects and hopes to release these robots to the general public within the next 10 years.

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