The Hustle

AI vacuums? Why Roombas are getting smart

The old Roomba? The company wants you to consider it lobotomized.


August 26, 2020

We’ve all witnessed the sad, Sisyphean journey of a Roomba as it motors across a living room, slamming into every piece of furniture in its path.

But you can consider that old robot vacuum lobotomized.

iRobot, the $1B+ company behind the Roomba, is booting up its bots with AI. The new, smarter machines will learn all of the nooks of your house, like that spot under the kitchen table where you kick your garlic peels.

The Roomba knows about your late-night snacks

Does your couch mysteriously fill up with Doritos crumbs every night at 1 am? The Roomba can identify that as a “clean zone” and cover for you once the deed is done.

Or if you’re sick of the Roomba barging into your room, you can teach it to respect “keep out zones.”

But that’s just the beginning. iRobot told Fast Company it was looking to add future subscription services that don’t involve cleaning.

Pretty soon we might all start shouting, “Roomba, play songs by Pitbull!

iRobot’s ambitions are bigger than the Roomba

Let’s just hope they throw in a Roomba that takes care of houseplants… because ours aren’t doing so hot.

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