There have been all kinds of gimmicks to help your robot vacuum clean every inch of your home without requiring you to steer it around. But Dyson, while late to the robo-vac party, might have unsurprisingly come up with the best one yet. Its Eye 360 includes an all-seeing 360 degree camera that knows where it's been where it needs to go, and what obstacles it should avoid.
Assisted by a set of infra-red sensors, the 360-degree camera snaps 30 frames per second to create a detailed floor plan of an entire room at once. This not only allows the vacuum to plan the most efficient cleaning route to maximise its half-hour battery, it also lets the bot know its exact position at all times to within just a few millimeters so it won't waste time going over the same area twice.
And since the whole point of a robot vacuum is to make cleaning as hands-off as possible for a homeowner, the 360 Eye employs a set of flexible tank treads to climb over smaller obstacles so you don't have to make sure your floors are clean before your floors get cleaned. It also means the 360 Eye can easily transition between rooms with subtle lips, ledges, or steps used to transition between tile and carpeted floors.
Like most robot vacuums already on the market, Dyson's 360 Eye can automatically return to its charging station before its battery is completely dead. But unlike other robo-vacs, the 360 Eye will work with a free accompanying iOS or Android app that allows users to remotely start cleaning cycles, or schedule a cleaning routine so that their home gets tidied while they're away. After all, a robot vacuum can still be still as loud as a manual one.
On top of all the wonderful innovations Dyson has made to the robo-vac as we know it, the 360 Eye also features the company's tried-and-tested vacuum technology. The unit features Dyson's V2 digital motor, which is energy efficient and compact while still able to gobble up around 0.4 litres of dust and dirt before you need to empty its storage bin -- which should be more than adequate for anything short of a construction site. And its spinning brush spans the entire width of the machine so that you're not left with a thin edge of dirt around every wall and obstacle in your home when the robot claims it's done cleaning.
Unfortunately it's going to be a while before those of us in North America will be able to get our hands on the Dyson 360 Eye -- and then get it on our dirty floors. The company is first launching it in Japan sometime in early 2015, with an international release to eventually follow. And pricing has yet to be revealed either, which could be another stumbling block, especially for those of us slobs who already can't afford to pay a maid every week, much less a mini-tank that sucks up dust. [Dyson]