Friday, September 5, 2008

iRobot Introduces New "Industrial" Floor Cleaning Robots



Just a couple of days ago, iRobot has introduced new "industrial" floor cleaning robots to the market. The Roomba 610 Professional series, a "re-designed" 500 series Roomba to take the tough job of cleaning business floors (offices, restaurants, retail store, movie theatres and even your local funeral home). Also introduced are the Roomba 562 and 532 Pet series, both as well are "re-designed" 500 series Roomba, offer the luxury of picking after your lovely pet's harry problem "more efficiently". Jump over to get the full details about these new robots. At US $600 - Roomba 562, $400 - Roomba 562 and $350 - Roomba 532 they do not make many to jump at them right away, particularly with an anemic global economy. The cold truth is that these robots are the same 500 series Roomba with minor changes to the cleaning brushes (4000 series roomba re-design), 3 arm side brush, a bigger particle/dust bin (they have removed the vacuum) to act like their "DirtDog" sweeper, an extra year of warranty and some other senseless items (case to carry accessories, extra brushes, extra particle bin, etc.). Personally this is just a marketing "wet dream", no real progress was made with these robotic floor cleaners. It is a way to get more money from the consumer in order to help their consumer devision and the company as a whole. Its hard to believe but I truly like and wish iRobot well but they need to focus on fixing real issues with their current fleet. Fix issues with 500 series Roomba with the following solutions:

  • Use of better materials on high stressed parts (use of metal bearings, metal gears, etc.)
  • Fully Automated cleaning system (learn from the Karcher RC3000)
  • Solve or massively improve the hair accumulation problem at the brush ends
  • Use of newer battery technologies (Li-ION or Lithium Polymer)
  • Provide a more reliable and efficient room "mapping" capability (learn from Evolution Robotics/WowWee Rovio)
  • Use of brass inserts on regularly replaceable parts
  • Resolve clumping of accumulated dust at the squeegee intake gap
  • Use a washable nylon meshed air filter with the option to add HEPA rated filters (learn from Microrobot UBot)
  • Provide a scalable OS and user friendly option to change the cleaning behavior to meet their needs and environment.
  • Provide a scalable hardware to meet different domestic needs (cleaning, security, web portal, virtual presence, central home systems management, etc.)
The list can go on almost for ever but you get the idea, there are many things that could be improved upon in order to have a much better and reliable product. iRobot was the first to mass produce a fairly effective cleaning robot but they could easily disappear from the market, as other technologies in the past, if they do not focus their efforts to fix known issues and/or provide much needed features to their current series of robots.




1 comment:

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