Robotic Vacuum Uses 360-Degree Camera, Tank Treads

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Nature, as you may have heard, abhors a vacuum. But even She might pause to admire this one.

British manufacturer Dyson introduced its high-end 360 Eye robotic vacuum cleaner this week, with an avalanche of images, videos, press materials and spec sheets. You can take an interactive tour here for all the excruciating minutia. Apparently, while the rest of us have been monkeying around, a team of 200 Dyson engineers have spent the last 16 years (and $47 million) developing the dead-serious robotic vacuum cleaner.

Like the Roomba and its competitors, the 360 Eye is designed to vacuum a room all by its lonesome. The high-tech cleaning machine features a top-mounted panoramic camera to constantly map its environment using triangulation, trigonometry and even probability theory, according to Dyson. The camera captures 30 images per second and even sees into the infrared spectrum, which is apparently important for getting goldfish crackers out from under the coffee table.

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As for the hardware, the 360 Eye employs something called the Radial Root Cyclone system, in which eight cylinders, housed in a larger central unit, generate centrifugal forces of up to 50,000 G. That’s powerful enough to grab up particles as small as 0.5 microns, according to Dyson — including mold and pollen particles.

Dyson has also swapped out wheels for tank treads made of corrugated rubber, designed to help the unit handle ridges and transitions — from carpet to hardwood floors, say. Dyson says testing required the robot to navigate 224,000 ridges over 1,000 kilometers.

The 360 Eye engine is powered by lithium-ion battery that allows for 20 to 30 minutes of run time. If it runs out of juice, the vacuum returns to its docking station, recharges automatically, then gets back to work.

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You can set the controls on the 360 directly or via your smartphone by way of the included app for iOS and Android. You can even call up those 360-degree infrared room maps, if you’re interested in looking at the world through your vacuum’s all-seeing eye.

The Dyson 360 Eye is slated to launch in Japan early next year, where robotic vacuums are very popular, with a worldwide rollout later in 2015. Pricing hasn’t been set, but the unit is expected to go for upwards of $1,500 USD.

See the video.

Credit: Dyson

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