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February 9th, 2017, 3:29 am
Our compatriot third_deg, formerly of iRobot, has been dropping hints about his or her upcoming release of a new (radically new?) cleaning robot. He or she particularly looked at the Dyson 360 Eye thread and hinted at the advantages of his or her as-yet-unannounced product.
This thread is for rampant speculation about what might be so radically new and improved about third_deg's robot. Because hey, it gives us something to think about between releases.
Things we know:
- Third_deg suggested there would be an announcement before calendar year 2016 was finished (heh). Must be close!
- Although third_deg designed the Aeroforce extractors for Roomba 800 and 900 series, he or she has said that the design was limited by the fundamental design of Roomba. We should expect a new agitation/extraction design.
- Third_deg claims this new robot handily outperforms all current cleaning robots.
- Various price points, likely starting around the $500/$600 USD mark.
- Stairs! Navigation, cleaning, and mapping.
- Many all-metal parts, such as gears.
- Third_deg cares a lot about toe kicks, so we can expect this robot to handle those.
Things I find interesting that we don't know:
- How will it navigate stairs, mechanically?
- How will it map stairs, and therefore multiple floors of a house? I know how I would approach the problem, but I'm very curious.
- Details of extractor agitators.
- Bin size and emptying (e.g. self-emptying?)
- Overall shape and size.
- Company and brand strategy. Investors.
- Release date!
Okay! So! Some conjecture:
I suspect the agitation will be a horizontal rotational mechanism, something like Dyson's "Tangle-free Turbine Tool".
For stairs… well, who knows! Here's a playlist of robots climbing stairs
. Locomotion would almost certainly have to be something different from a pair of wheels on either side of a circular bot.
Who else wants to participate in this reckless and irresponsible speculation?
February 9th, 2017, 5:51 am
The Third Degree company exists you can search for, but does not yet seem to be in business, and the prospects are unknown (except to insiders). It is no secret. It has to be sold to investors etc. There is a patent you can find with a variety of creative ideas. iRobot continues to dominate the market with smaller shares at the other companies, of which there are several. There is only so much that can be said about a company which may or may not start up. Best wait for the product. All sorts of wishes for improvements over extant products can be made, but what will be realized is unknown (like one of Donald Rumsfeld's "known unknowns").
February 9th, 2017, 12:22 pm
Oh, you're no fun. Come on, it's way more entertaining to make baseless speculation than to wait reasonably for an actual announcement!
February 9th, 2017, 1:56 pm
He has said here it will be more square than the original patent (like a lot of designs competing with Roomba) and will not implement stair climbing at least yet (likely to be expensive I imagine). It has been claimed to have superior suction with specially designed fan motors (one of his specialties it seems, shades of Dyson) and will have superior traction on the floor, navigating on difficult carpets and crossing high thresholds (unique drive design, in the patent). His earliest comments were about a self-cleaning filter mechanism. They have a design, but do they have a business? I want to do right by them in their position. Just keep speculation in perspective.
One company (not 3rd) I heard commissioned a marketing study from research firms in that business and I suspect it was Samsung. They quoted a lot of figures about preferences of customers in their announcement of new models at the annual Las Vegas CES trade show, and they are big enough to indulge in such expensive things (instead of reading our forum for free), besides wanting to grow their share of this market. iRobot having divested of their original defense contractor business is also a candidate (being public like Samsung compared to private Neato Robotics they need stuff for investors).
I needed a new robot last year and could have used a new Third Degree but it wasn't available. Hope springs eternal.
February 9th, 2017, 3:43 pm
I'm perfectly good with wild speculation haha.
I will confirm a few things.
1) The bin capacity exceeds all others. The final number may still be adjusted, but currently exceeds other designs by a comfortable margin.
2). That Dyson cleaning head is a good guess. Ours is markedly different. But I like the guess. You can't make a radical improvement by doing the same things in short.
3). Mobility is highly enhanced by employing traction techniques that are common in lunar landing robots. A big step up from current hardware. The design has undergone changes and will appear in the next 4 patents that are rolling out soon.
4). We took a step back from year end announcements as we adjust a few things. Each iteration is still a big step up.
5). Vacuum and battery performance are also class leading.
6). Yes it will be low enough to go under toe kicks. I see Samsung has succumbed to his reality as well.
7). The first version released will by upgradable to include the stair climbing features via the modular design. In order to support this we need to complete the stair climbing design prior to release of the initial version obviously. And those features are in place and being tested. Our goal is a system that people can grow with and upgrade, rather than filling their closets with old robots.
February 9th, 2017, 4:01 pm
third_deg wrote:Our goal is a system that people can grow with and upgrade, rather than filling their closets with old robots.
February 9th, 2017, 4:43 pm
The need for patents in today's industry could explain a lot of the time needed to start up, keeping up the prospects for better products. After all, the patent office is part of the government... I knew a small electronics maker (calibration equipment, old firm) in a NYC loft with patents on the walls, he said were not worth much the way they can be got around I guess. They seem to have become an industry in themselves in the evolving towers of finance, patent trolls etc. Patents have gotten weird when such things as "one click ordering" can be patented (I think they had this in ancient Babylon -- one mark on the clay tablet).
The modularity and upgrade potentials is new and could be a real game changer and worth a premium price. Other brands have backed away from even delivering software improvements (besides bug fixes, not the same thing). I wish they would just sell them to old unit owners at least.
WiFi features seem problematic. Neato's note about more capable WiFi chip sets in the higher end model suggests this is a messy business. I don't see the practicality but the customer is always right. Surprising so many reports of connection problems in such a mature technology. Maybe you have to be a cell phone maker to have it all good.
February 10th, 2017, 12:33 am
Should be able to do shag rugs also.... But I haven't tested yet.
February 11th, 2017, 4:27 pm
third_deg wrote:Should be able to do shag rugs also.... But I haven't tested yet.
Is there is potential launch date?
February 12th, 2017, 2:52 am
We have a launch date planned but it's best not to announce as yet in case the plan needs to be altered / competitive reasons.
February 12th, 2017, 2:27 pm
One area needing innovation is the drop sensors, cliff sensors. Standard IR proximity sensors have proved across all brands not to handle black colors on flooring both carpet patterns and some hard floors. They need to be turned off in some cases (now done by covering with paper for a false floor). It is hard to test because only certain materials prove incompatible with this type of sensor (though Ikea might be a source, being home to all the most problematic carpets). Ultrasound might work but sounds expensive and bulky. Anything new on the horizon?
February 12th, 2017, 3:02 pm
When I first started project I originally intended to use IR here, as we are inventing enough other stuff already. As I've been a frequent user of this site, the number of people that complain about this issue is certainly high however. Most of the complaints have been by Roomba users (may just be due to the fact more of them are sold).
Since my team is continuing to expand, I've been able to assign some time to this problem, and we have a solution in place. The next challenge however is determining if that solution fits to our COGS target. It also needs additional testing.
February 12th, 2017, 3:15 pm
Update on shag:
The unique mobility system is well suited to this problem and it is able to move far better, and more confidently than Roomba for example. Roomba's cleaning system literally pulls itself into the carpet, and it's a fight from there. our cleaning system floats over it nicely (Good). But, does result in directional issues (bad).
We may be able to account for this in software, but more testing needed.
February 12th, 2017, 4:05 pm
The Neato - Roomba hybrid Xiaomi Mi, with no guard over the Roomba-like intake, had a problem reported where the brush got blocked in carpet, assuming no hardware defects -- never seen before. Lots of subtleties emerge with low power delicate systems unlike brute force regular vacuums. Inescapable trade-offs can occur, as how regular vacuums use different attachments for hard floors and carpets. There might be something in offering different cleaning heads for customers with different environments, but I think Dyson and others may have developed more complex adapting intakes. Us carpet owners are the Rodney Dangerfields of the robot industry. Probably nuts to even try it, but long term measurements have shown it practical at least with one brand.
The kind of testing done by time-constrained reviewers, scattering stuff on floors, is insufficient for carpets, however cinematic for advertising. The needed technique is to brush very fine grain material into the carpet and measure what's left after robotic cleaning, with a full size vacuum (though I waited for genuine terrestrial dust, distinct from the Martian kind). A cleaning material trademarked Host, resembling sawdust, though saturated with cleaning fluid, is actually used by brushing in, even with a power brush they supply for rent at outlets, specialty vacuum stores (fluid evaporates quickly). A dry clay like material also sold for use this way, for separately sprayed cleaner, is dubious as too fine for extraction by Dyson centrifuges, and could ruin filters (I have seen it on the filter) -- good with disposable paper bag machines.
February 12th, 2017, 4:59 pm
The general purpose computer software market has long had a practice, famous with Microsoft from decades ago, of "work in progress" product delivery. Less than perfected products are delivered partly usable so sales can finance the expensive complex software development of the more complete version. This seems to have been attempted in the robot market but may not be so effective with appliances compared to software. There is a kind of open ended usage of software understood by customers; anything you get can be useful etc. Appliances have well defined functions and different expectations from customers. The time for this strategy in appliances at least may have passed or never been best for business over the long run, with the effect on reputation of delivering ineffective, problematic products. e.g. Samsung frequent traps on chair legs, incorrect suspension details (shades of the more critical disaster with cell phone batteries). Taking longer to fully develop the product may be a better management strategy in robots. First impressions are always said to be important. I would want every customer to be satisfied and give good ratings in the internet environment today. It is better to warn off potentially dissatisfied customers beforehand than get bad reviews, or deliver convenient returns service. The regular vacuum cleaners are so mature and perfected over a century there is little need for customers to research, but the days of door-to-door sales to demo new products are gone, too. The internet plays a key role in marketing now.
It looks like Samsung never delivered their newer models to CNET reviewers for testing after newer Powerbots appeared a year ago, maybe because they did not win their testing contest (I am beginning to wonder if CNET has a brand bias analogous to an old Consumer Reports infatuation with foreign cars). There are a few thorough reviewers, with testing, around the world, some in Europe besides CNET, which might be worth generosity. I like the Spanish one with separate test videos of different features, of many brands on YouTube instead of the usual web pages, including measurement data. Especially his navigation test room with ramps and focused difficulties -- a robot olympics.
 Also note how Dyson produces numerous slick videos for advertising on Youtube. I did not see that so much with other brands before. The style of these videos is important, resembling some office furniture ads featureing expertise of their designers, instead of the jazzy video composition style, not even as informative as the TV informercials still used on regular vacuums (with lots of practical demos, despite a few carnival tricks).
February 12th, 2017, 6:02 pm
glnc222 wrote: Also note how Dyson produces numerous slick videos for advertising on Youtube. I did not see that so much with other brands before. The style of these videos is important, resembling some office furniture ads featureing expertise of their designers, instead of the jazzy video composition style, not even as informative as the TV informercials still used on regular vacuums (with lots of practical demos, despite a few carnival tricks).
Neato have been doing this from day 1, they just don't make ridiculous comparisons between their bots and $50 Chinese knock off Roomba bounce bots.
Btw, I note you frequently call Neato out for not being able to handle areas that double back on themselves, I wish you'd stop it mate because Neato fixed this before version 2.0 of their firmware on the XV11's and it hasn't been an issue since - I've had 2 houses with this arrangement and it's been a total non issue for years.
P.s. I too am very much looking forward to 3rd degrees bot, I really hope he can advance robot vac technology in a similar big leap too that which Neato made with laser powered slam navigation.
February 12th, 2017, 6:31 pm
Thanks for support. Any name change suggestions? 3rd degree is pretty terrible SEO even if my geek brain liked it. Need a much more consumer facing name.
For example the Lily drone did well here before completely crashing and burning (but that's another story)
February 12th, 2017, 7:45 pm
Not a lawyer, but maybe give name ideas in PM's so no problem if used something published here? 3rd Deg always sounded like something experienced at iRobot maybe? Something for transcendental meditation or dreams. Or just ask the marketing dept....
February 13th, 2017, 8:24 pm
third_deg wrote:Thanks for support. Any name change suggestions? 3rd degree is pretty terrible SEO even if my geek brain liked it. Need a much more consumer facing name.
For example the Lily drone did well here before completely crashing and burning (but that's another story)
FloorMaster 10,000 FTW!
Sorry couldnt help myself.
February 13th, 2017, 9:00 pm