The new Roomba 980 is a round robotic vacuum cleaner with a twist. Previous versions of the Roomba vacuum cleaner would ride around and bump into things. This would then signal the Roomba to turn in precisely calculated angles to achieve a complete cleaning around the barrier. The Roomba 980 uses a low resolution video camera to “map” houses, learning where objects are in space and gaining a greater understanding for the layout of the home.

Using a system called visual simultaneous localization and mapping or vSLAM for short, the Roomba can keep track of its location and where it has already been until it knows it has cleaned the entire level of your home. The Roomba knows where it has been, where it currently is, and where it has not yet gone. It will work tirelessly for 2 hours, automatically re-dock, re-charge, and then jump back to where it left off.

This Roomba cleans in parallel lines, making specific twists and turns around objects as necessary. Watch the video to gain a greater understanding for the mathematic calculations of how Roomba 980 cleans. 

Some may be concerned about the idea of having a camera on your Roomba. iRobot stresses that the camera is very low resolution and is used mainly to assess distance traveled throughout the home. The goal is not to allow Roomba to identify objects. It won’t know a chair from a table; only that something is “there” without necessarily having to bump into it.


The Roomba 980 is available today for $900.00.

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