New Neato robots at IFA

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New Neato robots at IFA

Postby calypso » August 30th, 2017, 5:07 pm

Neato have just updated the app, and now it mentions at D7. Looks like the connected is getting an upgrade.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... roid&hl=en

Hoping for some more interesting products.
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Neato just obsoleted virtual walls

Postby mofan » August 31st, 2017, 7:52 am

The Connected D7 allows you to use the app to draw boundary lines that the robot should not cross, no need for actual virtual walls. This has been one weakness of Neato, that it never sold virtual walls for its robots. Now it won't need them. This is honestly the first "connected" feature of a robot vacuum that would make me really want to go out and get a wifi enabled robot. This is a feature that Neato can trumpet in competing with Irobot.
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Re: New Neato robots at IFA

Postby glnc222 » August 31st, 2017, 12:58 pm

The Connected D7 allows you to use the app to draw boundary lines that the robot should not cross, no need for actual virtual walls.


Significant advance. I have mentioned this possibility several times over years, and as the most interesting potential of getting a more powerful interface with the external computer of a smartphone (though I wish they supplied it on PC's as well). A lot of displays of the robot path through the house have appeared in recent years, but with no apparent application, just a gimmick.

The boundary marking method either Virtual Walls or magnetic strips are expensive besides cumbersome and limited. Samsung switched in the U.S. at least, from optical boundaries to mag strips. A few years ago Ecovacs demonstrated a prototype which seemed to have this mapping feature but never supplied it, and some bot had some way to mark spaces while running the robot around.

Samsung started a couple years ago with using the map to select a room to clean (extending the common ability to resume cleaning where left off, after recharging), suggesting the boundary possibility. One has to wonder about planned obsolescence and the slow roll out of software improvements.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for other brands to offer similar features on their guided robot models. I have noticed software advances are not offered via firmware updates on older models, new models have to be purchased; they won't sell the software separately. Not unusual in the computer industry. Something has to pay the programming costs.
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Re: New Neato robots at IFA

Postby glnc222 » August 31st, 2017, 2:34 pm

There is a catch-22 with marking virtual boundaries on a smartphone map. How does the robot acquire the map to mark up? If the robot has to be kept away from certain spots which would trap it, how does it complete a run to acquire the map to mark those spots? It will be interesting to see how Neato Robotics handles this conundrum. Perhaps this aspect has played a role in the long standing physical boundary methods offered.

[edit] Another report says the D7 can still use the old mag strips, so that is their resolution of the paradox. Start with those, and then remove for more convenient virtual software mapping.

There remains questions of how well the mapping can be managed. Can it be done room by room? Lot of details in software applications, and they are not always done as well as might be wanted.
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Re: New Neato robots at IFA

Postby calypso » August 31st, 2017, 4:12 pm

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Irobot should be worried, based on this article about Neato

Postby mofan » September 1st, 2017, 12:49 pm

Goes into some very interesting details about future capabilities that can be enabled by Neato's persistent maps of the home. Irobot has talked about some of this type of functionality, but Neato beat them to market (so far):

https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/home-robots/neato-adds-persistent-actionable-maps-to-new-d7-robot-vacuum
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Re: New Neato robots at IFA

Postby mofan » September 1st, 2017, 2:15 pm

Some great quotes from the above article:

"Today, Neato Robotics is introducing a new flagship robot vacuum that we think offers one of the most significant advances we’ve seen in years: persistent, actionable maps."

"Neato is starting off simple with what you’ll be able to do (like defining no-go zones), but it’s an incredibly powerful feature that’s necessary for the future of all home robots."

"See that little red line? It’s a virtual boundary that you can set on the map that the robot generates, allowing you to tell it where not to go within Neato’s app. For this to work, the D7 makes a map of your home, and then stores that map between cleaning sessions. Every time the robot cleans, the map gets refined and updated, but they key here is that it persists: The D7 remembers the layout of your home, allowing it to recognize where the virtual no-go lines are and respond to them as it cleans, doing away with physical barriers."

"Neato is planning to make incremental app upgrades to this mapping functionality every six months or so, and you can easily imagine the kinds of things they could add beyond these very simple lines that the robot shouldn’t cross. For example, how about being able to draw areas instead of just lines? Or, select specific areas that you want the robot to clean more often? Maybe you want some areas cleaned on some days, but not cleaned on others. And it gets much, much more interesting."

"The next thing could be segmenting your rooms. Most people think of their house as a collection of rooms, and think of the floor cleaning on that basis. You may want to clean the kitchen every day and clean your bedroom three times a week. There might be other things: As you go around the house, you can imagine, for example, if the robot gets stuck in one particular corner two or three times, maybe it marks that area as a place to avoid. So, getting a little bit smarter about learning the environment."

"The idea that the robot can identify specific rooms is a powerful one, and we’re not surprised that it could be the next step for Neato’s mapping software. At first, it’ll almost certainly be you segmenting and labeling rooms by hand so that you can tell your D7, “Go clean the kitchen.” It’s not hard to imagine how the robot might soon be able to tell what kind of room it’s in (bedroom, dining room, kitchen, etc.) through the patterns that it detects with its sensors. A table and lots of chairs? That’s a dining room. Couch and coffee table? Living room. The small room with hard floor is a bathroom, and kitchens tend to have hard floors and shapes that allow for lots of counter space rather than openness. Now, imagine that the robot gets even a little bit smarter than that. Rather than having to tell it that you want the kitchen cleaned three times a week, the robot could gradually learn that the kitchen gets dirtier than the rest of the house and therefore should be vacuumed more often. Neato’s robots can already detect especially dirty areas of the floor, so that could be a straightforward thing to add. Eventually, the robot could autonomously generate an optimal cleaning schedule for your entire house, which could involve cleaning just the specific spots that get dirty frequently, and everywhere else on occasion."

Neato's CEO also gave a few hints about future products: "This is a bit of a delicate question, because we think we know what we want to do next, but it might be a little too early to talk about. But, to speak in very general terms, if we look at the home, our view is that we want more robots that do useful things for you. What would you do in the general area of cleaning, after you clean the floor? You would probably clean your sink, maybe your toilet, maybe your shower and bathtub, other vertical surfaces, windows—you’ve probably seen some approaches to robotic window cleaning. We believe the right approach is different from what we have seen so far. That’s one category of things. If you go one step further, loading and unloading the dishwasher, taking the dishes from the table to the dishwasher, those kinds of things. In order to do these kinds of applications, you need to be able to move intelligently, and you also need a few other things that you can probably imagine."
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Re: New Neato robots at IFA

Postby JEfromCanada » September 2nd, 2017, 12:46 am

mofan wrote:Neato’s robots can already detect especially dirty areas of the floor, so that could be a straightforward thing to add.


I thought dirt detection was patented by iRobot and not included in Neato models. When did this change?
Current robots:
Roomba Discovery 4210 (R.I.P. - Freecycled)
Roomba 560 (retired)
Neato XV-11 SW version 3.1.17844, LDS version 2.6.15295, with Pet Brush and Vic's filter (sold)
Neato Botvac 80 SW version 1.1.97, LDS version 2.6.15295, Board SW version 22753
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Re: New Neato robots at IFA

Postby calypso » September 2nd, 2017, 7:48 am

I guess there are many different ways which dirt can be detected. Especially if Neato is looking to more long term dirt analysis.
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Re: New Neato robots at IFA

Postby glnc222 » September 2nd, 2017, 3:46 pm

I never saw dirt detection in Neato's I had, through early Botvac's, and don't see any description of it.

Samsung has a detector in the intake which sets off higher power, and more passes nearby, when a lot of dirt goes through. I only see it at certain spots against walls now and then, pausing for thoroughness. Roomba's had an ultrasonic detector sensitive to sand crystals with a particular frequency.

Too some extent this a gimmick playing with the tech in the absence of the power needed, for marketing. Though I do like the Samsung feature.
One might wonder about a dirt detector getting disabled with dirt on it. Hasn't been a problem so far.
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