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I think we can all agree that vacuuming isn’t fun. It really isn’t. But every time I see a Dyson commercial on TV, I want to try one. Heck yes, I’ll vacuum my apartment if it rolls around on a big silver ball!
Despite it being a vacuum company, Dyson has done a really good job of positioning itself as futuristic. And today, it played into that when it announced a robotic vacuum cleaner. The 360 Eye will first debut in Japan in spring 2015, followed by the rest of the world later in the year. The vacuum is the first product to come out of Dyson’s heavy investments in a robotics team.
The 360 Eye is the same concept as a Roomba, but it relies on a 360-degree camera and infrared sensor to actually map a room while vacuuming it, as opposed to the Roomba’s method of just bumping back and forth between obstacles and hoping for the best. The 360 Eye reportedly knows exactly what parts of a room it has covered and makes sure it gets every last corner clean.
As with its other vacuums, Dyson claims that the 360 Eye has better suction than other robot options. It supposedly nabs particles down to 0.5 microns in size by separating dust and dirt while cleaning. It also uses a carbon fiber brush that crosses the entirety of the machine, which Dyson says picks up grime more completely than the spinning side brushes iRobot uses on its robots.
The 360 Eye has a battery life of 20-30 minutes. When the battery is low, it automatically docks itself. Users can program a cleaning schedule and check in on the robot’s status from a mobile app.
While robotic vacuum cleaners are initially very convenient, they do have some pitfalls. They need to be emptied and cleaned frequently to prevent failures and errors, which can quickly eat away at how convenient they really are. Whether Dyson has solved any of the maintenance problems remains to be seen.
Inventor and industrial designer James Dyson showed off the 360 Eye in Tokyo for the first time last night. We’ll be discussing the intersection of design and robotics at our experience design conference Roadmap on November 18 and 19 in San Francisco.