Google and iRobot Team Up To Map Your Home
Your vacuum is about to get even smarter. iRobot has just released their new Roomba, the i7+, in the US revealing they formed a partnership with Google to integrate their smart robotics and mapping capabilities for more effective cleaning and to set the groundwork for future smart home technologies.
The Roomba i7+ create maps of users homes through a combination of low-res camera imagery and measuring how far its wheels move to allow users to command their Roomba to clean a specific room with a voice command.
The generated maps are saved on iRobot’s company servers over WiFi, but the images collected are saved on the Roomba.
iRobot CEO Colin Angle told The Verge that the partnership lays the foundations for future smart devices: “This idea is that when you say, ‘OK Google, turn the lights on in the kitchen,’ you need to know what lights are in the kitchen. And if I say, ‘OK future iRobot robot with an arm, go get me a beer,’ it needs to know where the kitchen and the refrigerator are.”
This is undoubtedly exciting for fans of automation, but disconcerting for those who are unsettled by the ability of big tech companies to keep a record of their home’s layout after so many data breaches — most notably the recent exposure of 500K Google+ accounts which led Google to close the unpopular social media site.
However, Angle assured users that sharing info is voluntary and the only aim of the collection of data is to improve smart home technologies.
“If we can help the Google ecosystem to have a better understanding of the home — with full permission of the users, and the full ability to back out — then it might be that owning a Roomba makes your smart home smarter,” he says. “Or even more thoughtful.”
No news on whether this device will make its way to Aussie shores, but rest assured. The robots are not coming. They are already here.