Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

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Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby HateHousework » February 14th, 2016, 9:45 pm

I think one of the biggest disappointments in the Botvac Connected is the fact that it doesn't have a "2 pass" setting (like the Roomba 980). In fact it is the fact that the Roomba will do a second cross pattern pass that has made me seriously consider dumping the Connected for the 980. Is any chance that, in the future, a software or firmware update might add this feature to the Botvac Connected?
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby vic7767 » February 15th, 2016, 1:09 am

It's possible but I wonder why it wasn't in the firmware already.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby HateHousework » February 15th, 2016, 3:27 am

vic7767 wrote:It's possible but I wonder why it wasn't in the firmware already.


It seems it's virtually impossible to get anything these days that is fully and properly implemented. It's a no brainer that, with a minimal design investment, two pass capability would be an obvious and significant improvement but it seems there's always got to be a fly in the ointment somewhere!
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby JEfromCanada » February 15th, 2016, 6:21 am

Wait a while. It will probably be part of the Neato Connected PRO - probably coming soon to a website near you...

(This comment was not meant to be taken seriously)
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby mfortuna » February 15th, 2016, 7:32 am

I don't see why this is a must have feature. The Neato does just fine with a single pass. I think the Irobot 980 has the feature since they touted the multiple pass feature of the earlier robots with mostly random navigation.

It may sound easy but I think it would take a substantial design budget to implement the two pass feature. I design hardware but work closely with software folks. Adding new features (unless they are very basic) turns into a lot of work in coding, testing, releasing, bug fixing, etc.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby jorgeli » February 15th, 2016, 8:17 am

mfortuna wrote:I don't see why this is a must have feature. The Neato does just fine with a single pass. I think the Irobot 980 has the feature since they touted the multiple pass feature of the earlier robots with mostly random navigation.

It may sound easy but I think it would take a substantial design budget to implement the two pass feature. I design hardware but work closely with software folks. Adding new features (unless they are very basic) turns into a lot of work in coding, testing, releasing, bug fixing, etc.


Think that to.
It is doing a verry good work with a single pass.
Must you have one more , just program 2 start times in one day
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby vic7767 » February 15th, 2016, 10:51 am

jorgeli wrote:ust program 2 start times in one day
One day, one event limit.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby HateHousework » February 15th, 2016, 12:24 pm

vic7767 wrote:
jorgeli wrote:ust program 2 start times in one day
One day, one event limit.


There's a workaround for that. I disconnect wifi and then set the time manually and put midnight at the time in the afternoon when I want to vacuum. Then I schedule one cleaning for an hour before midnight (23:00) and then another for the "next day" at 0:00. The robot thinks it is doing one pass per day but they are really only minutes apart. I do this because it takes a couple of minutes to prep my apartment and it's nice to get a double cleaning with only one prep.

Ps I'm obviously VERY lazy. :wink:
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby HateHousework » February 22nd, 2016, 10:57 pm

mfortuna wrote:I don't see why this is a must have feature. The Neato does just fine with a single pass. I think the Irobot 980 has the feature since they touted the multiple pass feature of the earlier robots with mostly random navigation.

It may sound easy but I think it would take a substantial design budget to implement the two pass feature. I design hardware but work closely with software folks. Adding new features (unless they are very basic) turns into a lot of work in coding, testing, releasing, bug fixing, etc.


This post has been sitting in the back of my mind bothering for a while now and I can't help but respond. First of all I have a Physics degree and have also taken a number of university level Java programming courses so I do have some sense of the potential and limitations of software design. Non of the above points hold water:

1) At a minimum, making it impossible to program the Botvac to a do second cleaning right after the first is a flat out absurd oversight/omission.
2) Building in the ability to do each room twice (for a single job) would also have been ridiculously simple (in terms of modifying existing software).
3) Modifying the software so that, at the end of each run, the Botvac did another pass with a cross pattern perpendicular to the first pattern run also would have been very simple. It already will do the same room with one pattern one day and another pattern the next so it's not like the flexibility doesn't already exist.

The fact of the matter is that the designers probably rushed their robot to market without bothering to think though what kind of features would make the most sense. While it is understandable that improving the hardware at a given price point is never going to be easy, optimizing the software is a no brainer in terms of resource "bang for the buck". I find it ridiculous that this company has left such glaring omissions in the functionality of what, otherwise, would have been an exceptional product.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby JEfromCanada » February 23rd, 2016, 12:31 am

As a long-time software designer and project manager of significant software development efforts, I have to respectfully disagree with most of your pronouncements. The only one which I can agree with to some extent is your first - that at the conclusion of a cleaning, it *might* be possible to start a second cleaning. I say *might* because it is dependent on the amount of charge left in the robot. If you make the assumption that a menu setting can determine whether or not to attempt a second cleaning, there needs to be a way to clear the last map (not an issue) and wait for an appropriate amount of time to get a full charge before starting the next run.

Building in the ability to do each room twice would be very difficult. Neato determines its navigation based on locating areas that have not yet been cleaned. Software engineers would need to create a tri-state map of the areas to be cleaned (not just cleaned / not cleaned, but now: not cleaned / cleaned once / cleaned twice). That involves a complete reprogramming of the logic to determine where to go next.

Finally, trying to get Neato to do a run perpendicular to its previous run is also more easily said than done. Setting aside the fact that Neato's are not stateful (new runs start with no knowledge of any previous run), at the moment, Neato determines its original vector based on finding an original point of reference (the last boundary wall of the area perimeter) and using that direction of travel to determine the path. Neato would have to be totally reprogrammed to ignore the "end of perimeter" and find some other point in the room that would provide a "perpendicular" path (no easy feat, since not all spaces are rectangular); or it would need to be programmed to start running perpendicular to some arbitrary starting point (which would create a new problem - Neato would now be potentially bisecting a room rather than traversing the room like a wave working "outward" from one wall to its opposite wall. Neato's movement pattern (specially with the units that contain the side brush) are designed to keep that brush running along the wall when a wall is encountered. Changing the direction that Neato travels may send it on a path that does not make the best use of the sidebrush.

As if these issues are not sufficiently difficult, it all has to be done within the RAM and ROM limits of the machine.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby glnc222 » February 23rd, 2016, 1:11 am

There could be some dispute over the value of a second pass. Dirt remaining after a first pass may not be picked up in a second pass and require a machine with more suction. Some actual measurements of performance are needed. Perhaps the makers have figured this out already.

Battery capacity and wear are also probably issues. The battery can be charged only a few hundred times, which goes quickly when used every day. Replacing batteries of the size involved is a major component of lifetime cost of using a robot. Battery warranties can be limited to six months because someone could just wear out the battery in continuous use. It is easier to do two passes on a small space but the robot is potentially used in large spaces and recharged several times in one day. Notice the Powerbot handles this automatically by doing two passes without user control when the run lasts less than 15 minutes -- which could cover a bedroom or even small living room. The products are designed to have a certain battery durability in a certain application. Companies aren't into making limitations clear, though I find a lot of surprising detailed disclaimers in the Powerbot manual, over-conservative and maybe created by lawyers.

The problem is insufficient flexibility provided to the user. I wonder if one factor in expanding that is the limitations of the interface consisting of a small control panel on the robot, compared to a general purpose display like a cell phone, if even then. Adding flexibility increases the size of menus and renders them more intricate. It could become tedious to set up as well as review complex options on that panel, somewhat like a wristwatch with little buttons on the side. Marketing could find complexity annoys a lot of customers.

More options is an obvious possibility of the new WiFi interfaces and smartphone apps, though has not been realized yet. There still remains the limitations of the robot capacity.

The value of more options has been expressed here years ago, and the question has long been fairly obvious. The companies are not much into explaining the limitations of the technology and their particular approach to working within it. There is room to maneuver within these limitations in new designs. It may take new companies to try new solutions. You never know when the old companies will spring new models with entirely different features though. iRobot having divested of defense business may now get more creative in consumer products. It still can take years as there is not a whole lot of money in this category, compared to regular vacuums, to fund R&D. Dyson might be an exception but has targeted a very narrow Asian market so far. Their robot needs to recharge nine times to clean a five bedroom house, which would wear out the $150 or more battery quickly.
Last edited by glnc222 on February 23rd, 2016, 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby glnc222 » February 23rd, 2016, 1:24 am

I actually did a test of two passes on the Powerbot initially, where it could cover the entire apt. on only half a charge.
The second pass did not pick up much while a lot was left for the full size vacuum. Debris is measured with a microgram scale for precision. Now I am testing frequent use over a month to see what difference that makes. The Botvac Connected may have more suction but all sorts of factors such as cleaning head and brush design play a role too.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby glnc222 » February 23rd, 2016, 2:10 am

I should have mentioned in connection with more options the difficulty of users knowing what options to set, besides any difficulty entering choices in an interface.
While you might have an idea of doing two passes, what of people who have no idea whether to do two passes? Maybe two passes makes sense in a small space, but not a large space. Using the device becomes a puzzle which may not appeal to a lot of customers, however attractive to a particular sort of customer, sort of into the engineering problem. This may be accepted with complex technologies like computers, with many applications, but when it comes to an appliance maybe less so. If the robot is going to replace human labor, let it do so without playing a chess game with it. Either they work or not.
The products are actually in an experimental stage where they do some things but not others and some people find them interesting. About like when automobiles were first introduced -- where do you get fuel for it? Steam powered versions which could pump water out of ponds, if you had a pond where you drove. Also no roads.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby glnc222 » February 23rd, 2016, 6:12 am

What may be going on here is the Botvac uses more power for suction than the Roomba 980, so the 980 has capacity to run a second pass. The Botvac is designed for a single pass unless in a small space, for the battery capacity. A 2nd pass option would not work for that capacity and expected wear rate in the larger spaces, while the 980 has a different optimum allocation.
There is no evidence a 2nd Botvac pass would pick up any more. Feel free to present contrary data.
Apologies all the meandering. These experimental products are a bit hard to Grok.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby mfortuna » February 23rd, 2016, 7:51 am

HateHousework wrote:
mfortuna wrote:I don't see why this is a must have feature. The Neato does just fine with a single pass. I think the Irobot 980 has the feature since they touted the multiple pass feature of the earlier robots with mostly random navigation.

It may sound easy but I think it would take a substantial design budget to implement the two pass feature. I design hardware but work closely with software folks. Adding new features (unless they are very basic) turns into a lot of work in coding, testing, releasing, bug fixing, etc.


This post has been sitting in the back of my mind bothering for a while now and I can't help but respond. First of all I have a Physics degree and have also taken a number of university level Java programming courses so I do have some sense of the potential and limitations of software design. Non of the above points hold water:

1) At a minimum, making it impossible to program the Botvac to a do second cleaning right after the first is a flat out absurd oversight/omission.
2) Building in the ability to do each room twice (for a single job) would also have been ridiculously simple (in terms of modifying existing software).
3) Modifying the software so that, at the end of each run, the Botvac did another pass with a cross pattern perpendicular to the first pattern run also would have been very simple. It already will do the same room with one pattern one day and another pattern the next so it's not like the flexibility doesn't already exist.

The fact of the matter is that the designers probably rushed their robot to market without bothering to think though what kind of features would make the most sense. While it is understandable that improving the hardware at a given price point is never going to be easy, optimizing the software is a no brainer in terms of resource "bang for the buck". I find it ridiculous that this company has left such glaring omissions in the functionality of what, otherwise, would have been an exceptional product.


I and the SW folk I work with will have to disagree with you. Adding features takes time and money. Bottom line if a company doesn't forecast making money on adding a feature they won't do it.

The different patterns day to day are not intentional. The Neato forgets all and has to start each run from scratch. There is no functionality for different patterns.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby robocleaner » February 23rd, 2016, 8:18 am

The OP could wait for the ST-integrated Samsung VR9000 (coming soon to a store near you!): With the OP's knowledge of Java (specifically Groovy), you can (should be able to) write your own/modify the existing app to clean specific rooms or the whole house as many times/at whatever times you may want in a day.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby HateHousework » February 23rd, 2016, 4:08 pm

mfortuna wrote:I and the SW folk I work with will have to disagree with you. Adding features takes time and money. Bottom line if a company doesn't forecast making money on adding a feature they won't do it.

The different patterns day to day are not intentional. The Neato forgets all and has to start each run from scratch. There is no functionality for different patterns.


The simple ability to program two cleanings in one day would take about 5 minutes to program. The second thing I mentioned (where the robot repeated each section it had already mapped out) would probably take 20 minutes of programming. The third, and best solution, which would involve a second run with a different pattern might admitadly a take a day. Are you seriously telling me that this company is so cheap it couldn't even take five minutes or 20 minutes of manpower to modify the software enough and allow two cleanings on the same day or loop the program to repeat each section??????
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby glnc222 » February 23rd, 2016, 4:10 pm

The way the Powerbot overlaps and even repeats small areas within a run reduces interest in any duplicate runs. Plus it automatically does a second run when finished within fifteen minutes, which for this vacuum with wider intake and less attention to fussy edges, can be an entire room. (Also option to run continuously till entire battery used, see below. So many weird little things hard to keep track.)

The reference to legacy options of the Roomba random nav shows how casual is a lot of this. While they skipped the side brush, Samsung did the same, having an option to clean continually until battery exhausted, a la Roomba. I should have mentioned this in connection with the automatic duplication of short runs. Yet the WiFi model switched the max mode from unlimited runs to extra short run at extra high suction. Why not keep the old option as well? No room in the control panel design, nor the handy remote -- which is redesigned for the WiFi model and max modes. A decided haphazard offering. I have to wonder if any of these little changes can have much affect on buyers. The way it is choices would need to be based on the basic features and performance. But I am not in sales.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby TechGuy » February 23rd, 2016, 5:24 pm

HateHousework wrote:The simple ability to program two cleanings in one day would take about 5 minutes to program. The second thing I mentioned (where the robot repeated each section it had already mapped out) would probably take 20 minutes of programming. The third, and best solution, which would involve a second run with a different pattern might admitadly a take a day. Are you seriously telling me that this company is so cheap it couldn't even take five minutes or 20 minutes of manpower to modify the software enough and allow two cleanings on the same day or loop the program to repeat each section??????


I wish you are correct. lol. We will not be paying the high prices for these robots as all these changes only need 1 hour engineering time. Let say company charges $1000/hour. It will cost $1000 to make the change. It will cost us extra $1 per robot if the cost is amortized over 1000 robots. Let see what the "Neato" member on this forum will say.
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Re: Could an update allow the Connected to do a second pass?

Postby JEfromCanada » February 23rd, 2016, 6:44 pm

HateHousework wrote:The simple ability to program two cleanings in one day would take about 5 minutes to program. The second thing I mentioned (where the robot repeated each section it had already mapped out) would probably take 20 minutes of programming. The third, and best solution, which would involve a second run with a different pattern might admitadly a take a day.


It takes companies more time than this just to PLAN a meeting where a technical spec will be discussed - let alone documenting, costing, implementing and testing any change.

And assuming the work can be done (in significantly more time than you think), then the task of packaging and marketing begins. My suggestion is you apply for a job at Neato if you really believe what you're saying!
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