Dyson is launching its own take on robotic vacuum cleaners. It seems it will add greater power and some technical features to the set-up familiar from models like the Roomba, though it sounds like it might be overkill.
According to Dyson, the Dyson 360 Eye has been in development for 16 years, with a planned launch in 2001 ditched because it wasn’t up to scratch.
The device will use the same cyclone suction used in its bagless upright cleaners. The company is making a big deal of offering “full” power rather than trying to conserve battery to boost operating time: it says the 360 Eye will run for 20 to 30 minutes between charges.
Power-aside, the main technical selling-point is a 360 degree panoramic camera that captures 30 frames per second. This allows continuous analysis of the cleaner’s position and that of other objects, the idea being to not only cover every spot of the floor, but to avoid going over the same spot twice. According to Dyson, this will reduce cleaning time and thus make more efficient use of the battery.
The idea seems to be that the camera is used to survey the big picture of a room. The cleaner will have the infrared sensors found in other robotic models, but these will only be used for avoiding small objects and coping with unexpected obstacles such as pets.
As you’d expect from a household device in 2014, the cleaner supports an Internet connection and associated smartphone app, the idea being that you can trigger an emergency clean, for example if you’re out on a date and things are going much better than expected.
The 360 Eye also has mini-tank tracks rather than wheels, and has a brush that spans its full width, both of which Dyson claims will let it do a better job over a range of floor surfaces and tight spaces.
The common reaction to Roombas and the like has usually been that they are a great idea, but it may be tough to justify the cost of getting a top-end model. That will certainly be the case with the Dyson model: it’s planned for a Japan launch early next year before an international rollout and, while pricing is unconfirmed, rumor puts it at around US$1,650.