iRobot OS (the newest ‘brain’ for your Roomba) is now available
Roomba vaccum: iRobot’s Roomba operating systems are being redesigned by the company to better understand you.
Robots are becoming more intelligent. Two years ago, iRobot Genius Home Intelligence was released, an AI-powered platform that allows robot vacuums and mops to operate. iRobot recently announced its new software platform: iRobot OS. Colin Angle, CEO, of iRobot said that this operating system for Roomba robot vacuums will bring them to the next level. It provides household bots with a deeper understanding and can help them clean smarter and harder.
While the iRobot OS doesn’t immediately add new features to existing products, the OS is laying the foundations for a larger leap. “The idea that we move from the iRobot Genius and iRobot OS to iRobot OS, is a declaration about the intelligence and superiority of robots in our homes,” Angle stated in an interview with Verge. Earlier in this year iRobot’s Genius 4.0 rollout added a few dozen new features on its Roomba robot vacuums.
AI In Robotics Is The Barrier To The Next Level
Basically, iRobot believes its software is the reason it chooses its products over its competitors as the robot cleaning industry becomes more competitive. Angle provided an analogy to illustrate how someone might choose an iPhone instead of an Android phone, or a Windows laptop over a Mac. They would opt for the hardware with the most impressive software.
iRobot OS’s Intelligent Feature,
Currently, iRobot OS’s intelligent feature, iRobot Geonius, has been renamed iRobot OS. Through the iRobot app the company’s robots can be given additional cleaning schedules to avoid pet shedding and suggest Keep Out zones when robots run into trouble. It can also run 600 Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri voice commands, as well as cleaning specific rooms and areas.
Angle states that the new OS allows iRobot a greater understanding of the home and will be used to enhance other areas of smart home. Angle states that although the OS currently runs on robots, Angle anticipates it to soon be available on other devices.
Aeris is a company that iRobot recently purchased. “There is a cloud based home understanding, which we call the home knowledge cloud. Angle states that it is possible for other iRobot OS device to access this information and, through the shared understanding of their home, understand how they are supposed to work.”
He explained how the iRobot OS cloud can be used to identify the room in which the purifier is located. “It would benefit the knowledge that I’m in my kitchen. It’s OK to make louder noises. There are many sources of pollutants in this area.” He said that noise can cause air purifiers to be disabled, similar to robot vacuums.
Angle stated that iRobot is developing air purifiers that can sense when a space or home is empty. When it does, the turbo mode is activated and then the machine goes back to quiet. “The concept is an operating system that activates robot features in harmony with what’s happening in the home.
Roomba j7 iRobot: Roomba vaccum
Understanding your home is the key concept. Angle cites the Roomba j7 iRobot’s most recent vacuum as an example of this. Angle says the robot’s computer vision platform, powered by its front camera, has given the company a new understanding the home’s environment. This allows it to better understand the layout of a home and execute precise commands such as “clean near the kitchen counter” or “clean around the coffeetable”.
AI-obstacle avoiding technology allows the vacuum to recognize and avoid common objects like shoes, socks cords, headphones, clothes, towels, pet poop, and even cords. Angle reports that j7 vacuums have detected more objects than 43 million in homes. Angle expects more robots with front cameras to be added to the company’s product line.
THE IDEA OPERATING SYSTEM FEELS LIKE A SYSTEM THAT ACTIVATES THE ROBOT’S FEATURES. BUT IT IS ALSO INTERESTED IN HARMONY TO THE HOME.
Angle’s vision states that data such as maps shared with iRobot devices now will be shared with other smart device — possibly using the new smart home standard Matter — in order to provide context. Angle claims that iRobot’s IP-based protocol, which is one of the options to implement Angle’s vision, is being used by them. However they are still addressing privacy and security concerns related to how these connections take place and what you are allowed and not allowed.
iRobot OS: Most Thoughtfully Intelligent
Angle says that “we can understand where things are so that we can immediately know where they are,” Angle says. This could make it easier to set up new gadgets.
“The scope for what we’re doing in iRobot OS is at a higher level of insight. Better AI is not what blocks us from reaching the next level AI in robotics. It’s context. Angle says Angle: “We’ve been able understand the utterance, ‘Go into the kitchen and buy me a beer’ for a decade.” Angle says, “But I don’t care if the kitchen isn’t where it is, nor do I know where the fridge and what a beer looks, but I understand your words.”
Angle suggested that iRobot OS will take the company’s robots further by adding an additional feature called appendages. He states, “Only through understanding the core promise of robotics — reaching beyond and performing physical tasks in your home — can it actually become tangible.”
Understanding our homes and how they function is crucial to designing a smarter home. It will be easier to manage and maintain, and it will also make life more pleasant. Amazon calls it “the ambient home”, Google is calling it the helpful home, and now iRobot is promoting the intelligent home. The end goal is the same: to make their technology more useful and fit in our homes, so that we buy more. However, a smart home that works with other devices is possible.