It’s the next frontier in artificial intelligence: a cleaning robot that knows not to mess with dog mess.
The new Roomba J7+ from Bedford-based iRobot comes with what it calls P.O.O.P., the Pet Owner Official Promise. The company guarantees the robot’s AI software will recognize animal droppings and steer clear of them, rather than smear the mess all over the robot and your carpet. (Apparently, this is a problem.)
It’s one of several product upgrades unveiled by the company on Thursday, aimed at integrating robots with “smart home” technology.
The new Roomba can be programmed to clean only when there’s nobody home, based on location data transmitted from the user’s smartphone. The robot can also provide an estimate of how long it will take to clean a given room, and recommend optimal cleaning strategies for the house. It slows down as it approaches a wall, to avoid damaging itself while still getting close enough for proper cleaning. When the robot travels from room to room, it can switch off its vacuum in transit, to eliminate needless noise.
And of course, the J7+ will avoid random obstacles. For now, it’s programmed to steer around wired earbuds and the aforementioned waste matter. In a forthcoming upgrade, the robot will be taught to bypass socks and shoes, because the fabric and laces could snare the Roomba’s spinning brushes.
The Roomba J7+ is priced at $849.