Dyson teased a new product announcement last week, and now it’s unveiling what many suspected it might: a robotic vacuum, called the Dyson 360 Eye. This Roomba-competitor offers greater suction that existing field, and has a built-in robotic eye that lets it see its environment, and map out exactly where it has been and where it hasn’t for optimal cleaning.
Like all Dyson vacuums, it includes the company’s patented cyclone technology, and it also packs a V2 Dyson digital motor like those found in the DC59 portable stick vacuums. The robotic eye is new to this model, however, and accounts for its automated intelligence. It presents a 360-degree live image of its surrounding to the 360 Eye’s computer brain, telling it where to go next, and building a constantly updated model of the cleaning environment in tandem with infrared sensors.
The robot vision work for the Dyson 360 Eye is in part a result of its ongoing partnership with Imperial College London, as well as 16 years and $47 million in R&D work for the robot vacuum alone. Dyson says it has also conducted analysis on 1.5 billion images during the device’s testing, as well as running testing on tracks that analyzed the 360 Eye’s suspension and tracks across 342,000 bump strips and 670 miles to test for durability. Its tank-style treads give it an advantage over the competition, Dyson says, in terms of helping it navigate small obstacles.
Dyson’s robot vacuum is also smart enough to find its own dock and charge when its power gets low, and can run for between 20 and 30 minutes on a full charge with no degradation in suction power over time. It weighs in at just over 5 lbs, and has an 0.4 liter bin capacity, which is slightly more than most standard bin attachments that ship with most of the current Roomba range, though on par with the top-of-the-line 880 model.
Dyson 360 Eye owners will be able to control their robot via a new app for iOS and Android which handles screening even via remote connection. The vacuum is going to ship in Japan first, with an arrival date of spring 2015, and the company isn’t saying anything about pricing or availability in other markets beyond that just yet.
Robots are generally cool, even when they’re just performing menial tasks like cleaning up my shed skin cells, but a Dyson robotic vacuum is way cooler than most. Here’s hoping it lives up to the rest of the line in terms of performance as an actual vacuum, too, and that it makes its way to North America eventually.