Infrared Virtual Walls

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Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby prerejection » May 25th, 2017, 5:50 pm

I bought a eufy robovac 11, and there aren't any virtual walls made for this robot. Can I buy any infrared virtual wall from another manufacturer and use that?
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Re: Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby vic7767 » May 25th, 2017, 6:45 pm

Probably not. Check to see if your robot even has IR sensors to detect an IR virtual wall.
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Re: Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby prerejection » May 25th, 2017, 6:46 pm

It most definitely has them.
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Re: Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby vic7767 » May 25th, 2017, 8:50 pm

Everybody copies iRobot virtual walls. Try one of the early 4xxx or 5xx model VWs and see if one might work.
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Re: Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby prerejection » May 25th, 2017, 8:52 pm

I'm going to need the remote with it too? And it definitely won't sync with my robot, right?
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Re: Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby glnc222 » May 25th, 2017, 9:01 pm

Eufy refers to their virtual wall as a "sonic wall" seeming to imply a different technology than IR virtual walls. The "sonic wall" is listed as part of the model 20 but not mentioned in the manual or description for model 11. The picture is hard to interpret but is consistent with ultrasound emitters and is a bit odd for IR devices.
The IR devices use coded digital modulation of IR beams similar to those for TV and other device remote controls, with standard parts for such controls, emitters and receivers. These can be set in design to distinguish different remotes and button presses in the coding used, so you would have to know how their system works to relate it to those of other brands. Virtual walls for Roomba's have been reproduced DIY by hobbyists, see hacking forum here.
First thing is to contact Eufy customer service to see what they can supply.

The Neato robots do not use IR virtual walls so I made one for it DIY, interfacing to its cliff sensors. Neato forum.

IR virtual walls can have problems. Samsung's for instance seem poorly designed with beams which can reflect off walls making difficulties. They have abandoned those in favor of mag strips in the U.S., but not in Europe yet, strange.

One way to make a portable physical barrier for the robot is with plastic right angle wall corner guard in paint depts., 4ft and 8ft lengths, inexpensive, cuts with scissors.
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Re: Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby prerejection » May 25th, 2017, 9:03 pm

thanks so much, good to know the virtual walls are a waste of time. i appreciate the money tip
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Re: Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby glnc222 » May 25th, 2017, 9:45 pm

There was once some "keep off strips" and mats made of black material which works by fooling the IR cliff sensors (which ought not be fooled, but are too cheaply made). These were for Roomba and no longer sold. They had mixed reviews. Still listed at Amazon maybe, but no stock anymore.

A lot of common black materials do not fool the sensors, black cardboard and fabrics etc. but some carpet patterns and hardwood floor grain has interfered with robots. In my study of cliff sensors in the hacking forum here, I found knit black fabric especially hard to detect. So you might experiment with that sort of thing. Typically if a robot is started with the sensors over a cliff (false or real, over edge of a table), it will immediately back up in response to cliff detection. If it moves normally the sensors are too good to be fooled.

If a material fooling the cliff sensors is found, it could be used to make equivalents of the mag strips used on robots, using the cliff sensors instead.

[edit] Just found black knit cloth did not defeat Samsung's cliff sensors, so the problem material still hard to find.
Last edited by glnc222 on May 26th, 2017, 3:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Infrared Virtual Walls

Postby glnc222 » May 26th, 2017, 2:00 am

More VW background:

The IR proximity detectors for obstacles on robots, as made, integrated standard parts with dedicated function, cannot be used as IR virtual wall sensors. Special sensors for the VW's will typically be on top of the robot, so visible all around. Samsung has two receivers, for triangulating a beacon in the dock, shared with the remote control and VW. One reason Neato does not use VW's is because they would interfere with its IR lidar on top (and the lidar turret block VW beams). It is also easier to make a VW work on a random navigating bot because the beam does not have to be very focused; the robot responds just by turning away. Systematic, guided robots want to trace out the lay of any barrier for mapping and need a tightly focused beam (which does not seem to be the case with Samsung's, another reason to abandon it (they had older robot lines without guidance and just continued the accessory). Guided robots can get trapped by VW signals, remaining in the wide beam or its reflections while turning away and appearing to be surrounded by barriers, more fussy in maneuvering than random bots. I focused the beam more like a laser in making one for Neato.

The expensive new Dyson robot omits any boundary marking feature, perhaps recognizing their limitations.

VW's have inconvenient needs for batteries, but 5v USB wall chargers can be adapted to power them, or use 3v A/C adapters, sometimes convenient. Still there is some advantage in having an invisible barrier created instead of unsightly mag strips; those ought to be offered in a range of colors, but the demand is probably too small. They could be covered by duct tape or painted. Mag strips also will not work underneath thick carpets putting them too far from the magnetic field sensors. I wonder how well the "sonic wall" from Eufy performs.

The ideal solution would be ability to mark up a map on the smartphone with lines to serve as barriers. Maps have started to appear in some of the high end robots with WiFi apps, but some ways remains to go on this. Something like it has been shown on prototypes at trade shows, but nothing came of them. All the WiFi things seem to be a little flaky. Samsung tried a "select a room" feature on its top model and now Ecovacs Deebot is offering the same.
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