How Does Roomba Remember Room Layout

iRobot, a Massachusetts based company is in the business of making floor-cleaning robots since 2002. These cute but functional robotic cleaners have caught the imagination of the people ever since they were introduced. They require minimum assistance from your part to keep your home clean.

Roomba for pet hair is indispensable for people with furry animals in their homes. It covers every area of your home to suck up stray pet hair, dust, and pet dander to keep your home clean and healthy. This is made easy with Roomba’s ability to sense and map your home's floor plan.

Thanks to a path-breaking breakthrough in technology, the latest Roomba can not only map but also remember the layout of multiple rooms!  The mapping ability helps the Roomba to clean easily and efficiently. Now, it is natural to wonder- How Does Roomba Remember Room Layout?

The following section tells you how-

The imaging sensor

imaging sensor

Earlier Roomba’s had several mapping features like infrared sensors, cliff sensors, and wall sensors built into them. They help them move around efficiently while sucking up dirt. The latest series of Roomba’s have an imaging sensor on the top. Besides, they have a better memory to enable them to store multiple maps.

This sensor points forward and up. It is not a full-fledged camera but can discern a handful of pixels in an image that forms a unique lighting pattern. The things that could be creating those patterns could be the corner of your TV against a white wall, and perhaps a picture frame next to it that has its own contour of light and dark.

These markers in your home and their relationship to each other can be compared to star constellations. This will allow the Roomba to localize itself in your house. It makes use of the cloud to let this happen. Data about these visual landmarks are kept there for the Roomba to reference.

Whenever it runs anew, it requests the latest information from the cloud. After it has completed a task, it will run anew when you press run again! It leverages historical data with the current cleaning mission to optimize cleaning and efficiency.

Along with the imaging sensor on top, it also has another sensor to track the floor as the robot moves over it. When combined with wheel odometry (meaning, it can infer the distance traveled by how much the wheel has turned, just like your car), the way it can learn things about its environment is optimized.

Better than GPS or LIDAR for home use

 GPS or LIDAR for home use

This approach is best for use at the household level. GPS will not work at the household level because it is not accurate over small areas. Advanced robotic systems like the ones used in self-driving cars use LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).

It consists of using a spinning laser system, cameras, and radar to sense the environment. This technology, however, is overkill for cleaning robots. What’s more, they are prohibitively expensive for such applications. The scientists at iRobot have hit upon the best and the most cost-effective approach when it comes to the latest Roomba series.

Neato, one of Roomba’s competitors, uses a laser-based mapping system. It however doesn’t have the same kind of room recognition like the Roomba’s that allows you to send it to specific zones at any given time. This vision approach called- visual simultaneous localization and mapping, or vSLAM, allows the Roomba to know where it is.

What it means for your Roomba

What it means for your Roomba

This technology can help your Roomba remember its environment. It allows you to label the map on the corresponding app by room type and instruct your robotic vacuum to clean a specific room by name. The Roomba can remember up to 10 floorplans! This means, you can "kidnap" it, take it to a new place, and it will learn that one, too.

It works with Alexa and Google Assistant also and you can easily activate it with your voice. All you have to do is shout at an Echo Dot to make it clean a room that you’ve just dirtied! An additional feature of the latest Roomba series is that it comes with a docking station called Clean Base.

The Clean Base empties the cleaning bot into a large dirtbag. It can empty the Roomba 30 times before you need to throw out dirtbag along the debris into the garbage! Now you have a robotic vacuum with state-of-the-art technology that can not only remember the room layout but also empty itself. What more can you ask?

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