Gadgets

The new Roomba 980 maps your house, then cleans it

When Roombas were first introduced they were the first sign of the robot-uprising, but over the years we have grown to love the little particle collectors (which may be what they wanted all along). The newest installment to the iRobot line is the Roomba 980 vacuum cleaning robot and it’s packed with new features.

The new iRobot is the company’s “best cleaning robotic vacuum to date,” according to iRobot’s announcement. Roomba 980 is the first Roomba to combine adaptive navigation with visual localization, cloud connected app control, and increased cleaning power on carpets, or in other words, the smartest and hardest working little scrubber that the company has created.

“With more than 14 million robots in people’s homes worldwide, iRobot is the global leader in automated home cleaning,” said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot. “Roomba 980 is the next big step as it marks iRobot’s first cloud connected product with mapping capabilities for the consumer market. Leveraging the cloud and mapping technologies, robots gain a better understanding of their environment, and customers are provided with more control. Looking ahead, these technologies will also enable expanded capabilities for connected robots in the smart home.”

“Vacuum cleaning robots can’t rely on any one feature or technology to clean effectively,” said Christian Cerda, executive vice president and general manager of iRobot’s Home Robots business unit. “Vacuum performance, efficient navigation, adapting to ever-changing environments and cleaning under furniture where dirt is hiding are all important factors, and they must be balanced. Roomba 980 takes this into account to deliver convenient, customized, powerful cleaning assistance, each and every day.”

The big advancement this year is the combination of iRobot’s iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology, with the new sensors added to the device. Now the Roomba 980 vacuum cleaning robot independently cleans an entire floor level in a home, with smart tech and new upgrades.

With Roomba 980, iRobot is implementing its proprietary visual simultaneous localization and mapping (vSLAM®) technology for the first time in a consumer product. This technology is part of iRobot’s new iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization, which allows Roomba 980 to build a map of its environment as it cleans, keeping track of its location until it has cleaned an entire level.

Then using the map, Roomba 980 will run continuously for up to two hours, then automatically return to its Home Base to recharge and resume until the cleaning is done. Roomba 980 will clean efficiently in open areas by moving in parallel lines while also taking advantage of the robot’s suite of sensors to adapt its pattern when necessary, seamlessly navigating under furniture and around clutter.

The iRobot HOME App allows users to connect Roomba 980 to their Wi-Fi network, so when cleaning schedules don’t match social or work schedules, they can start a cleaning job from anywhere, anytime. Roomba 980 can also be scheduled to clean up to seven times a week from the familiar Smartphone interface.

Available for Android and iOS devices, the HOME App expands Roomba 980’s functionality, allowing users to choose the appropriate cleaning mode for their unique home, such as choosing between one or two passes, edge cleaning and whether to use Carpet Boost behavior. The HOME App also provides information about cleaning status, customized tips and direct access to customer support.

The new device can also detect different floor surfaces, so it can then optimize its cleaning power based on the type of floor it’s cleaning. Its AeroForce Cleaning System with Carpet Boost provides twice the cleaning power by automatically increasing the performance of the Gen 3 motor on carpet and rugs.

The Dirt Detect uses optical and acoustic sensors to detect high concentrations of dirt and debris and perform concentrated cleaning in the areas where it’s needed most. First introduced on the Roomba 800 Series, the Roomba 980 also features brushless, dual counterrotating debris extractors that grab dirt from any floor type while reducing hair tangles and brush maintenance.

The Roomba 980 vacuum cleaning robot is available for purchase in the United States and Canada beginning September 17, 2015 starting at $899 USD on irobot.com. If that’s a little out of your price-range, the previous models have taken a price-cut in anticipation of the new release. You can check them out on iRobot’s product page on authorized retailers like Amazon.com