iRobot and the Smart Home

Date : 9-13-2017

iRobot and the Smart Home

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology. Find out what that mapping technology could mean for the future of the smart home.

The Roomba, that cute little robotic vacuum by iRobot, has been cleaning our floors since 2002. That makes it one of the elder statesmen of the modern smart home.

But did you know the company originally made bomb disposal robots? iRobot, founded in 1990, only sold off its military unit in 2016.

All robotic vacuum cleaners (robovacs) use short-range IR sensors to detect obstacles. That helps them avoid bumping into anything. Yet iRobot’s models from 2015 and onwards now feature cameras, super powered sensors, and new software.

This Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology means that the Roomba doesn’t just avoid obstacles. It now generates a map of the whole room. Measuring the spatial dimensions, it also includes the layout of furniture and other items that may block its path.

The SLAM tech is so sophisticated that the robovac can pause cleaning, go back to recharge in its dock, and then pick up where it left off. All of that with no input from you.

That’s a smart device.

But let’s find out what that mapping technology could mean for the future of the smart home.

Why Would You Want a Map of Your Living Room?

Your Roomba needs such a map to avoid collisions with table legs, cabinets, or bookcases. It can also use the map to identify high-traffic areas that may need further cleaning. But that layout isn’t just a floor plan.

It’s data.

That’s useful data if your company offers smart devices for the home. Many smart home devices almost operate in isolation from one another. Manufacturers understand how their product works, but they don’t always understand the physical domestic space.

If there’s one thing the Roomba understands, it’s space.

That map of your living room can be useful to other devices. Your lighting can work out where you sit when you watch television and adjust the lighting levels to suit. Or your smart speakers can play at different levels based on how near they are to seating. Even air conditioning could adjust to suit how people use the space.

The data can also help manufacturers learn how near their devices are to a WiFi router. It’s true that emerging technology like Bluetooth Low Energy can allow signals to hop from one device to the next. But that won’t help the WiFi smart device users. They need all their devices to have WiFi access.

In a bid to reach more devices, iRobot added compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa in March 2017. It also works with the SURE Universal Remote app so that you can control your Roomba from your smartphone.

What About Privacy?

As with many issues around the smart home, sharing maps of private homes raises plenty of privacy concerns. iRobot stresses they will need customer consent to share maps with other smart home manufacturers.

Some worry that iRobot may share data with companies like Amazon or Google. They could use the maps to determine what customers keep in their homes and recommend products based on that information.

Forbes noted the worry that the maps would identify the location of high-ticket items like televisions or sound systems. The maps may even pinpoint where residents are at particular times of the day. No one wants potential thieves to have information like that on hand.

But your Roomba already collects the data, around cleaning performance, although it currently only shares it with you. It’s likely there will be an option to turn off cloud-sharing functionality.

Roomba and the Future

Investors like the sound of robotics in their future. Japanese tech giant SoftBank bought just under 5% of iRobot. Competitors launched similar robovacs, but the Roomba remains the innovative choice, especially with its mapping capabilities.

With connected devices so central to the future, having a device that helps them work together can only improve the smart home. Research by UK bank Barclays found home buyers would spend thousands more for a home with smart functionality. 45% of homeowners even save money thanks to their smart devices.

Perhaps your Roomba’s house map doesn’t sound so bad after all.

Over to you – would you let iRobot share data about your home?

« || »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

26 − 17 =

Recent Post

Blockchain and IoT

How IoT may help during your Easter egg hunt

IoT is being launched into space

How a Device Security Company May Save IoT

Tags

Smart technology IoT Smart devices Activites for kids Alexa Amazon Amazon Fire TV Amazon’s Alexa Amazon’s Echo android apps Android Features Android Phone Apple TV April Fools Day Best Apps Chromecast Fitness Apps Classic Movies Fiber Internet Events Fiber Internet Connection Funny tricks Gifts Go Green Home Automation TV Shows Home Theater TV Remote Interesting IoT Security IoT – Internet of Things Light bulb Lighting Media Streaming Movie Trilogies Movies Pets Privacy Issues Product Update Productivity Apps Quiz Remote Control Roku Smart Device Top Apps Technology of Lighting Smart Home Smart TV Technology Streamer Event VR IoT; amazon; Home Automation; Remote Control IoT for kids Halloween smart socket smart thermostat nest thermostat smart fan smart shades smart humidifier freeze detector smart lighting Smart home gadget Christmas gifts gadget Christmas movies streaming control smartphone IoT Technology Wi-Fi connections lose weight track calories food scale shape scale smart scale fitness tracker IoT cloud robot virtual reality IoT Device thermostat security system smart IoT network smart city Magazines IOT Journal Evolution Magazine Digitalist Magazine IoT India Magazine Smart tech smartphones youtube channel gadgets wearables IoT applications GymWatch fitness wearable Amazon Alexa Echo dot Voice Control ocf interroperability SD-IoT Software digital media STB Set-top Box manufacturers certification Data services ads business model monetizing IoT ces 2018 demo interoperability Internet of Things Marketing IoT devices IoT data marketers smart garden devices Garden Sensor Wi-Fi Sprinkler Automower Smart LED Flood IoT influencers IoT space IoT news IoT Solutions IoT skills; IoT sensors; IoT devices; data security; IoT industry Sports and IoT; wearable sensors; Z-Wave ZigBee smart home hub Z-Wave devices Smart Toys kids mesh network IR devices IR blaster IoT Sensors father's day new tech costumer service Iot gadgets irobot alarm iotivity smart home specification automated home The Hub smart office Automated office Smart Homes Smart Home; IoT; IoT platforms IoT ecosystem IoT world Gateway smart buildings IoT platform smartphone app Smart Cities IoT hardware smart home technology IIoT technology industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Smart Industry connected devices building automation building autonation system iot tech smart home lighting Iot Gadget thanksgiving smart gadgets Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets Smart sensors contact sensors detector sensors temperature sensor water temperature sensor brightness sensor iot software platform IoT Gateway IoT Ready IoT gateway software home security window sensor door sensor Iot solution; smart city technology smart home tech market wearable tech IoT in Education smart LED lighting new world of IoT Preventive Maintenance IoT preventive maintenance smart refrigerator software-defined IoT platform Smart Doorbells home alarm systems office automation setups IoT health care medical devices IoT gizmos Smart Lock Smart Doorbell Smart Camera smart home IoT devices Bluetooth cellular IoT IoT Connectivity LPWAN hybrid IoT wireless protocols for enabling IoT The Internet of Things (IoT) mash network Wifi Li-Fi Internet of Things (IoT) What is Li-Fi? wireless protocols LED bulbs solar power solutions based on IoT IoT in solar energy plants utilizing IoT innovative technologies Trust Architectures for IoT 5G 5G works Remove term NB-IoT Cat-M1; Massive IoT Deployments; NB-IoT; Cat-M1; Massive IoT Deployments; IoT based technologies IoT integrated systems IoT automation IoT technologies Edge Computing Micro Data Network Iot; Easter; Blockchain secure network Data Sharing

Categories

Industry News

Company News

Ready to Try?

Follows us