Roomba j7 uses a camera to recognize objects – including pet waste
Ever since the first iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner was introduced, successive models have offered additional features. The new Roomba j7 is particularly interesting, however, in that it uses a visible light camera to identify and avoid obstacles … such as dog and cat poop.
Announced this Thursday (Sept. 9), the j7 incorporates what iRobot calls PrecisionVision Navigation technology. This is combined with the company's iRobot Genius 3.0 Home Intelligence system, an AI upgrade that is available to all Roomba models.
Utilizing the camera/AI combo, the j7 "gets smarter with each use," as it memorizes the layout of every room, including the location of obstacles such as furniture. When it initially encounters such an obstacle, it takes a photo and transmits it to an accompanying app. The user can then check that image on the app, and instruct the j7 to subsequently avoid or clean around the object.
Additionally, the j7 is able to actually recognize both charging cords and pet feces on sight, avoiding both – the cords could get mangled if sucked up, while the feces would make a big mess of the inside of the vacuum. In fact, the company claims that it will replace any j7 that fails to avoid solid pet waste.
Some of the features that are added via Genius 3.0 include a Clean While I'm Away function, in which the user's smartphone triggers the robot to begin cleaning only once they've left the house; Cleaning Time Estimates, in which the app lets users know how long it will take to clean a given room; and Quiet Drive, in which the j7 turns off its vacuuming system when moving from room to room, in order to keep the noise down.
The Roomba j7 is now available in Europe, the US and Canada, priced at US$650 – a wider rollout should take place next year. There's also a fancier j7+ model, which automatically empties its vacuumed-up dirt, pet hair, etc into an included Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal docking station – it sells for $850.