The Newest Roomba Uses AI to Avoid Dog Poop


If you’re a pet owner who just so happens to have owned the Roomba at one point or another, you’re probably quite familiar with the problem that a number of these vacuums have had when it comes to not recognizing (or avoiding) dog poop. Imagine setting your Roomba to take care of the floor so you can go to work, only to come home and realize that it not only ran right over that freshly deposited pile of dog poop, but also continued to run for hours thereafter, scattering it all over the entire house.

The Struggle Is Real

It almost sounds like a comedy sketch, unless you happen to be one of the people that this actually happened to. You’re probably wondering how or why this actually happens, as Roombas are supposed to be programmed to avoid things they aren’t supposed to pick up, right? As it turns out, the earlier versions of the vacuum didn’t really avoid all that much. While they were programmed to turn around and go the other way when they touch the wall or something similar (like furniture), they weren’t able to tell the difference between dog poop and the Cheerios your toddler scattered all over the kitchen floor. As far as the vacuum was concerned, it was all the same. Fortunately, that’s now changed and it’s all thanks to Artificial Intelligence that has been incorporated into the newest vacuum, the Roomba j7 Plus. It seems that the company has been working on the issue almost since the first Roomba vacuum went into production. Hearing what they have had to go through in order to try and rectify the problem is both interesting and rather comical in and of itself, provided you are not one of the engineers that had to work on the problem personally.

Poop And Power Cords

One individual who used one of those earlier Roomba models took to social media to tell a story about a foster dog she had who had an accident during the night. Unfortunately, her Roomba was also programmed to run at night, and run, it did. When she woke up, she found it had run over the poop and a number of power cords, effectively sending it into a fit. The end result was that the Roomba had deposited the mess all over the house in concentrated circles, almost as if it were taking target practice at certain areas of her home. To make matters worse, the Roomba itself was so badly soiled in the incident that she had no recourse but to throw it out and buy a brand new one. When you consider the fact that these vacuum cleaners cost several hundred dollars, that’s not really something that most people would be terribly anxious to do. Unfortunately, the same thing happened with the second vacuum only a few months later.

AI Technology At Its Best

So, if the old Roomba vacuums were such a problem with dog poop, what makes the new one different? It all comes down to the AI technology and a lot of reactive sensors that are used to help it avoid things like poop, power cords, shoes and any number of other obstacles. As it turns out, the new vacuum can be used in conjunction with a special app on your smartphone. On the app, you have a few questions to answer, specifically questions about whether or not you have pets. Once you program the answers into the app, the vacuum then takes those answers into account and combines them with its Artificial Intelligence to help it avoid things that you probably don’t want it to run over. If you’re interested, it also provides you with a map that you can track on your app, giving you the exact path that the vacuum has traveled.

Worth The Cost

Some people have balked at the idea that the new Roomba vacuum costs a fairly significant chunk of change, a little more than $900. However, it might be worth it to you to spend the money if you could avoid accidents with dog poop and avoid the need to come home from work and manually vacuum your entire home each and every day. As all pet owners know, it’s virtually impossible to have a pet without the need to vacuum on a daily basis. It can be quite a demanding task for people who get up early and come home late, especially when you also have to deal with demands on your time that come from family and other sources. Perhaps you should think about it this way. The addition of the new Roomba vacuum can help keep your house cleaner and the time that you save from not having to vacuum everyday gives you more time to spend with your pets that you love so much.

Obviously, you wouldn’t have pets if you didn’t love spending time with them. The addition of a new Roomba vacuum is a very real way to give them more of your valuable time while simultaneously ensuring that you don’t come home to a gigantic mess more often than not. That fact alone is enough to make most people consider the possibility of spending the money on the vacuum, especially when a lot of manual vacuums also cost several hundred dollars on their own, without doing half the work. There is little doubt that this is one of the more interesting uses for Artificial Intelligence to come along since research on the subject again. For years, people have been trying to find ways to use AI to make people’s lives easier. This is one of the very few instances where it seems like using such technology could actually accomplish that goal. If you’re curious, perhaps you should consider buying one for yourself and seeing how it goes.

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