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    Posted on February 22nd, 2009 Andrey Mikhalchuk No comments

    RoombaThe Roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner made and sold by iRobot. The Roomba was introduced in 2002; several updates and new models have since been released. As of January 2008[update], over 2.5 million units have been sold.

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    Roomba

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Roomba
    Type Robotic vacuum cleaner
    Inception 17 September 2002; 21 years ago (17 September 2002)
    Manufacturer iRobot
    Models made See list
    Website https://www.irobot.com/en_US/roomba.html

    Roomba is a term that refers to a series of autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners made by the company iRobot, and was first introduced in September 2002.[1] Roombas have a set of sensors which help them navigate the floor area of a home. These sensors can detect the presence of obstacles and steep drops (e.g., to avoid falling down stairs).

    As of 2024, iRobot markets models of their fourth through tenth generation, while continuing to provide support and sell accessories for their previous series.[2] Various models of the Roomba have different features, including tangle-free brushes, separate sweep canisters, more powerful vacuums, obstacle avoidance, and performance maps displayed via smartphone apps. Newer models also have a camera, which works in conjunction with onboard mapping and navigation software to systematically cover all floor areas, move from room to room, avoid obstacles such as pet waste and charging cables, and find recharging stations.[3]

    Roombas allow some modulation and reprogramming. Parts of some models are interchangeable, allowing owners to mix and match features or switch to other units for longer battery operation. Additionally, some units can be adapted to perform more creative tasks using an embedded computer in conjunction with the Roomba Open Interface.

    In August 2022, Amazon announced its intention to purchase iRobot, though the acquisition was delayed by regulators in Europe for fear of hurting competition. As of January 2024, these plans were abandoned by Amazon.[4]

    Development[edit]

    Engineer Joe Jones first conceived of what eventually became the Roomba in 1989 while working at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His initial design stemmed from a design challenge between Jones and his colleagues, using Lego. Early prototypes were created and presented to the Denning Mobile Robot Company and Bissell in the 1990s, but neither company was interested in producing them.[5] The concept languished until 1999, when S.C. Johnson eventually agreed to fund the project at iRobot. The device was initially called “DustPuppy” before being renamed to Roomba.[6] Development began in full in December 1999. S.C. Johnson pulled out after spending US$1–2 million, but iRobot continued with the project, eventually launching the first Roomba in September 2002.[7]

    Design[edit]

    700 series model upside down, showing the two driving wheels, beater brushes, various sensors and other parts

    Roomba models are designed to be low enough to go under a bed or other furniture. Most Roomba models are disc-shaped, measuring 338–353 millimetres (13.3–13.9 in) in diameter and 86–94 millimetres (3.4–3.7 in) in height depending on the model. The S9 and S9+ robots are semicircular rather than circular, with a flat part at the front, and are narrower at 311 millimetres (12.2 in) wide. A large contact-sensing mechanical bumper is mounted on the front half of all models, with a multi-directional infrared sensor at its top front center. Most models also have a recessed handle on top.[8]

    The first and second-generation Roomba models were not compatible with the Virtual Wall, a separately sold accessory that prevents it from entering an area. It projects a pattern of infrared light,[9] which the vacuum detects and treats as a physical wall, prompting it to stop and turn around. However, third-generation and newer models have now been made compatible with the Dual Mode Virtual Wall, which, in addition to simulating a straight wall, can create a circular barrier roughly 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter. Some 500, 700, and 800 series models are compatible with the Virtual Wall Lighthouse.[10][11] It initially confines the vacuum to one area to be cleaned. Once the vacuum reports the area being sufficiently cleaned (based on its estimated area), it directs it to proceed to the next space to be cleaned and contains it there.[12]

    Roombas are driven by two independently operating side wheels, which can drive the Roomba forward and backward as well as perform turns of any radius, including 360° turns in place. Rotary encoders on the wheels can detect the rate at which the wheels are spinning, determining if they are slipping or stuck, and drop sensors can detect if a wheel is too low (such as getting stuck in a vent). An undriven swivel caster is located at the front of most models and the back of the D-shaped S series. It is not used for steering, but it is used as an additional sensor. It has a rotary encoder as well. The caster’s wheel is half black and half white, and optical sensors detect the change in color as it rotates. This helps detect if the Roomba is stuck or beached (i.e., the drive wheels are spinning, but the Roomba isn’t moving).

    The cleaning head (brushes and suction area) on Roombas is relatively small. On most models, it is between the two side wheels and is around 5–8 inches (13–20 cm) wide; on the S series, it is moved to the flat square part of the D shape near the front, where it is wider, but still does not extend the full width of the vehicle. To compensate for this, Roombas have a rotating multi-pronged brush on one side that sweeps debris towards the path of the cleaning head, helping to clean a wider path and to reach into edges and corners.

    A Roomba’s bumper allows it to sense when it has bumped into an obstacle, after which it will reverse or change paths. Infrared “cliff sensors” on the bottom of the unit similarly prevent them from falling off ledges such as stairs. These may also trigger a false positive on dark or black-colored surfaces, such as some carpets, preventing Roombas from entering or being able to clean those areas. Third-generation and newer models have additional forward-looking infrared sensors to detect obstacles. These slow down the Roomba when nearing obstacles to reduce its force of impact.[13] It’s also used to clean along walls without bumping into the wall repeatedly. This technology is also able to distinguish between hard and soft obstacles.

    Most second and third-generation models and all newer ones have internal acoustic-based dirt sensors that allow them to detect particularly dirty spots and focus on those areas accordingly. Fourth-generation and newer models have an optical sensor located in front of the vacuum bin, allowing detection of wider and smaller messes.[14]

    Third-generation and newer models can reverse their brushes’ rotation direction to escape entangled cords and tassels. If at any time the unit senses that it has become stuck,[15] is unable to turn its main brushes, no longer senses the floor beneath it, or decides that it has worked its way into a narrow area from which it is unable to escape, it stops and sounds an error to help someone find it. Early models use only flashing lights or several beeps to indicate specific problems, while later models use a synthesized voice to announce a problem and a suggested solution.[16] The voice is available in several languages. Models with app capabilities will also communicate the error to the app, which will notify the user via push notification.

    Roombas are powered by a user-replaceable rechargeable battery; older models use NiMH batteries, while newer models use lithium-ion batteries, and a few models support both. First-generation models must be recharged from a wall power adapter, while all subsequent models have a self-charging home base that the unit seeks out at the end of a cleaning session via infrared beacons. Charging takes about three hours.[17] Battery reliability is a frequently mentioned complaint on customer review websites.[18] Battery replacements from iRobot cost a significant fraction of the purchase price of a new Roomba, though compatible third-party batteries are available at a lower price. The iRobot customer support website offers advice on maximizing battery performance and longevity.[19]

    Operation[edit]

    Control and cleaning[edit]

    Long exposure photo showing path taken by a Roomba as it cleans

    All Roomba models can be operated by manually carrying the Roomba to the room to be cleaned and pressing a button. Third-generation and later models can also be operated by pressing the “CLEAN” button on the top while the Roomba is on the charging base, causing it to reverse off of the base and begin cleaning. Later models introduced several additional operating modes, such as “Spot,” which cleans an area of a few feet. Older Roombas had “Max” mode, which cleans endlessly until the battery is depleted. “Dock” mode, introduced with the third generation, instructs the Roomba to seek a charging base for recharging. The availability of the modes varies by model. Many second- and third-generation Roombas and certain newer models (such as the 880),[20] come packaged with infrared remote controls or special control panels, allowing a human operator to “drive” the Roomba to areas to be specially cleaned.

    Subsequent Roomba models can be controlled with the iRobot HOME app, where users can start and pause the Roomba, send it back to the charging base, choose time limits for it to run before returning home, and view details about each cleaning job, such as how long the Roomba ran for and how the job ended (i.e., being completed, canceled or the battery dying).

    Roomba 530 on a charging station, which is plugged into a wall outlet

    The cleaning time depends on room size and, for models equipped with dirt sensors, the volume of dirt. First-generation models must be told the room size, while subsequent models either estimate the room size by measuring the longest straight-line run they can perform without bumping into an object, or by creating a map of the room.

    Non-desktop users[21] can use the iRobot HOME App,[22] although only certain models support 5 GHz.[23] Wi-Fi connected Roombas can also connect to Alexa, Google Home, and other smart home platforms for voice control or use in automation.[24]

    Pathing[edit]

    Starting with the seventh generation, Roombas have an upward-facing camera and a downward-facing infrared floor-tracking sensor, which are used to create a map of the floor.[25] This enables them to use a back-and-forth cleaning pattern, which is faster and more efficient because it ensures more complete coverage without needing to cover an area multiple times. The floor-tracking sensor operates like an optical mouse and can provide precise movement data over small distances. However, this causes integration drift and small errors in measurement that accumulate over time. To rectify this, the upward-facing camera is used periodically to identify waypoints or “landmarks,” coarse points that are used to correct the Roombas’ position and map.[25][26] Some algorithms, such as wall following, are still used, to partly assist in mapping the floor and to make sure the floor is cleaned along the edge and around obstacles. Unlike other mapping systems like lidar, which can operate in complete darkness, Roombas’ camera requires some light in the room in order to be able to map it. Starting with the eighth generation, Roombas retain the map after each run and use subsequent runs to improve the map. Multiple maps can be stored, and users can edit maps to separate and label regions (such as rooms), which can be used to have the Roomba clean only a selected room.

    Roombas before the seventh-generation models do not map out the rooms they are cleaning. Instead, iRobot developed a technology called iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology.[27] This relies on a few simple algorithms, such as spiraling, room crossing, wall following, and random walk angle changing after bumping into an object or wall. This design is based on MIT researcher and iRobot CTO Rodney Brooks‘ philosophy that robots should be like insects, equipped with simple control mechanisms tuned to their environments. The result is that, although Roombas are effective at cleaning rooms, they take several times longer to do the job than a human would. Some users have used long-exposure photography or compositing to create images showing Roombas’ coverage of the floor,[28] and have even attached light sources to Roombas to create art using light painting.[29][30]

    Some have also noted that doubts about the effectiveness of the random algorithms have been reinforced by multiple reports of Roombas rolling over dog feces and spreading them through the room, which rather unpleasantly illustrates how well the Roomba can cover the floor’s area.[31][32] Roombas have become a common example of how randomized algorithms can routinely succeed even though they cannot absolutely guarantee success on any single run or even after many repeated runs. Compared to competing products available when Roombas were first introduced, such as the Electrolux Trilobite, the effectiveness of Roombas’ random navigation was on par with (or even more effective than) robotic mapping technology available at the time, and cheaper to develop and produce, meaning it was sold at a significantly lower price.[33]

    When finished cleaning or when the battery is nearly depleted, Roombas (excluding first-generation models) will try to return to a base if one is detected. Roombas with mapping capability can recharge and resume a cleaning job, enabling them to clean large areas that take more than one full battery charge to complete. Roombas, except for first-generation models also support scheduling, allowing cleaning to start at a certain time and day of the week that the owner desires. Most 500-series models support scheduling through buttons on the unit itself, and higher-end models allow the use of a remote control, smartphone app, or smart-home automation integration to program schedules.

    Maintenance[edit]

    Various Roomba Discovery and 400 series parts

    Roombas require regular cleaning and maintenance. Because they are smaller and less powerful than large upright vacuums, the dustbin must be emptied frequently, sometimes as often as every single use. Hair and other obstructions must be removed from rollers and brushes more frequently. Some reviewers have complained about this necessity compared to traditional upright vacuums that only need infrequent cleaning and almost no maintenance; however, others have countered that the chore is not difficult and that it takes significantly less time to clean a Roomba than it does to vacuum by hand.

    iRobot has been praised for the availability of replacement parts for Roombas, with official parts still being sold for every model, including the first-generation Roombas almost 20 years after their release.[34]

    Models[edit]

    As of 2022, there have been ten generations of Roomba units.[35] All models have a patented design using pairs of brushes or rollers rotating in opposite directions to pick up debris from the floor.[34] In some models, the brushes are followed by a squeegee vacuum, which directs the airflow through a narrow slit to increase its speed in order to collect fine dust. A horizontally mounted “side spinner” brush on the right side of the unit sweeps against walls to reach debris not accessible by the main brushes and vacuum. In the first generation, the dirty air passes through the fan before reaching the filter, while later models use a fan-bypass vacuum.

    The early-generation models used a random algorithm to achieve total room coverage.[36]A small vacuum empties into a removable dustbin, which has rotation brushes to aid collection.[36] The robot is propelled by two knobby rubber wheels at the edges.[36] It has several sensors, including a bumper that detects collisions and an infrared sensor on top to respond to a “virtual wall”.[36] The robot is powered by a rechargeable battery contained in the unit.[36]

    First generation: Original series[edit]

    Introduced in September 2002, the first-generation Roomba had three buttons for room size. The first-generation units comprised the original silver-colored Roomba, the blue Roomba Pro, and the maroon Roomba Pro Elite. The latter two models included additional accessories, but all three used the same core robot and cleaning system

    An original Roomba model robotic vacuum is in the collection of the National Museum of American History, which they note as the first successful domestic robot.[37] The robot vacuum is described as being able to change direction when it encounters an obstacle or infrared beam and is powered by a battery.[37]

    Second generation: Discovery and 400 series[edit]

    Roomba Discovery

    The second-generation Roombas (“Discovery,” later called the 400 series) replaced their predecessors in July 2004. It featured a larger dust bin, improved software that calculates room size, dirt detection, and fast charging in the home base. Room size is detected automatically based on the longest straight-line path that can be driven. Instead of buttons for room size, their buttons are “Clean,” “Spot,” and “Max”.

    Roomba budget models (Dirt Dog and Model 401) used a simplified interface (a single “Clean” button) and lacked some of the software-controlled flexibility of other versions. They were less expensive models intended for first-time purchasers. The Roomba Dirt Dog contained sweeping brushes and a larger dust bin, but lacked the vacuum motor, using the space that would be required for the vacuum for additional dust bin volume. It was designed for a home shop or garage environment.[10] The Roomba Model 401 was similar but had a standard-size dust bin and vacuum system. The Dirt Dog was discontinued in 2010.

    Third generation: Professional and 500 series[edit]

    570 model

    The 500 series was introduced in August 2007[10] and featured a forward-looking infrared sensor to detect obstacles and reduce impact speed, a docking command button, improved mechanical components, smoother operation, and a modular design to facilitate part replacement.[10][38] The Roombas’ speed is also increased, which is possible in part because of the sensors to avoid bumping into obstacles too hard. It also introduced customizable decorative face plates.[10] The Roomba 530 included two virtual walls and a charging dock.[10]

    This model also included a newer version of the navigation software, now called iAdapt.

    There are several types of dust and debris collection bins for the 500 series models. The standard vacuum bin incorporates a squeegee vacuum. The high-capacity sweeper bin does not include a vacuum, but has greater debris capacity. The AeroVac Bin directs suction airflow through the main brushes instead of using a squeegee, which is thought to keep the brushes cleaner.

    Model Release Date Lighthouse

    Compatible

    OnBoard

    Scheduling

    Wireless Command Center Description
    510 No[39] No No[40] Basic 500 series robot. Does not have a self charging home base.[41][42]
    530 Similar to the 510 but comes with a self charging home base.[42]
    532 Pet series version of the 530.
    535 Yes[39] HSN version of the 500 series.[42]
    550 Yes Costco exclusive version of the 530.[42]
    560 Similar to the 550.[43][42]
    562 Pet series version of the 560.[44]
    564 Pet series version of the 560.
    570 Yes[40] Second highest tier of the 500 series, containing an extra brush kit.[42]
    571 Similar to the 570 but sold exclusively at Hammacher Schlemmer.[45]
    572 Pet series version of the 570.[46]
    577 Similar to the 570.[47]
    580 2007 Premium 500 series option containing a bonus accessory kit.[42]
    581 2010 Similar to the 580.[48]
    587 Similar to the 580
    590 Similar to the 580
    599 Similar to the 580
    610 2008[49] “Professional Series” version of the 500 series. Began using the 6xx numbering, but is technically part of the third generation. Was marketed toward small business owners with larger spaces.[50][49]
    611 Similar to the 610.[51]
    612 Similar to the 610 with a black face plate.[52]
    614 Similar to the 610 with a black face plate.[53]
    615 Similar to the 610 in an all black color.[54]
    616 Similar to the 610 with a black face plate.[55]
    618 Similar to the 610 with a grey face plate.[56]

    Fourth generation: 600 series[edit]

    690 model

    In August 2012, the 500 series was superseded by the 600 series, which added the AeroVac Bin and advanced cleaning head as standard features. In 2017, iRobot released the 690, which has Wi-Fi connectivity, so it can be started with an app and some personal-assistant software.[57] As of 2023, iRobot continues to market some 600 series models as budget models with Wi-Fi connectivity.

    Model Release Date Wifi Compatible Description
    620 No 600 series roomba with a white face plate.[58]
    621 No Similar to the 620.[59]
    625 No Similar to the 610. Also has red textured face plate.[60]
    627
    630 2012 No Entry level 600 series with a grey face plate.[61]
    631 No Similar to the 630. Sold in European markets.[62]
    632
    639 No 600 series with a silver/grey face plate.[63]
    650 2012 No Base roomba 600 series with a black face plate.[64]
    651 No 600 series with a grey face plate.[65]
    652 No Similar to the 650 but with Dirt Detection sensors.[66]
    653 Pet
    654
    655 No Costco variant of the 650 with bigger battery.[67][68]
    660 2012 No More advanced 600 model with AeroVac technology and a green face plate.[69]
    665 Yes Similar to the 650 with a white face plate. Can connect to the iRobot app.[70]
    670 Yes Modernized 600 series. Can connect to the iRobot app.[71]
    671 Yes Similar to the 670.[72]
    675 Yes Similar to the 670 but has Dirt detect.[73]
    677 Yes Similar to the 670.[74]
    680 Yes Similar to the 670. Supports a slightly different chassis design.[75][76]
    681 No Similar to the 680.[77]
    685 No Similar to the 680. Comes with 2 virtual wall barriers.[78]
    690 2017 Yes Modernized 600 series that can connect to the iRobot app. Supports a different face plate with black buttons and updated design. Has a larger dustbin than the 675 and can return to the charging station.[73]
    692 Yes Amazon specific version of the 694. Also does not come with an extra filter.[79]
    694 2017 Yes Similar to the 690 with updated design, including black buttons and updated faceplate.[80]
    695 2017[81] Yes Similar to the 694.[80]

    Fifth generation: 700 series[edit]

    780 model

    The 700 series, introduced in May 2011, though largely similar to the 500 and 600 series, included a more robust cleaning system, an improved AeroVac Bin with HEPA filter, and improved battery life. Like the 500 series, the 700 series had models with different technologies and accessories. The Roomba 760 was the simplest model, and the Roombas 780 and 790[82] were the most advanced, with both scheduling and a large range of accessories, including lighthouses, a wireless command center (also compatible with select retrofitted 500-series models), and extra brushes and filters. Besides these two models, Roomba 770 and 782e were available, with scheduling, dirt detection, and full bin indicator.

    Model Release Date Description
    760 2012 Mid-range, cost reduced model that uses the new AeroVac Series II cleaning system. The 76x roombas are the only ones in the 700 series that do not have a ‘full bin’ indicator.[83]
    761 2014 Similar to the 760 model but sold at select retailers such as Kohl’s.[84]
    765 (PET) 2012 Similar to the 760 model.
    770 2011 Similar to the 760, but includes a dirt detection sensor that can detect areas of high dirt concentration and focus its cleaning efforts there. Also has a ‘full bin’ indicator and includes an IR remote control for added convenience.[83]
    772e
    774 2013 Similar to the 770. Retailed for European markets.[85]
    775 (PET) 2012 Similar to the 770. Retailed for European markets.[86]
    776 (PET) Similar to the 770. Retailed for European markets.[87]
    780 2011 Includes all of the features of the Roomba 770, but it adds a touchpad control system (compared to button control system) and includes more accessories.[83]
    782 Similar to the 780.[88]
    782e Similar to the 780. Retailed for European markets.[89]
    785 Similar to the 780. Retailed for European markets.[90]
    786 (PET) 2014 Similar to the 780.
    790 2013 Includes all of the features of the 780, but also comes with a wireless command center that allows the user to control the robot remotely. Also Includesmore accessories.[91]

    Sixth generation: 800 series[edit]

    870 model

    The 800 series, introduced in 2013, is similar to the 700 series and its predecessors but contains updated technology. The AeroForce Performance Cleaning System, which is five times more powerful than the older series,[92] and the iRobot XLife battery are some of the new features. The AeroForce system does away with the large rotating brush and pulls air between two rubber rollers, thereby getting the vacuum suction closer to the floor. In 2017, iRobot released the 890 with Wi-Fi connectivity that can be started with an app and various personal-assistant software.[57]

    Model Release Date WiFi Navigation Description
    801 2013 No iAdapt Navigation Similar to the 805 and aims to be a cost down 800 model.[93]
    805 2013 One of the earliest 800 models that utilizes the AeroForce cleaning system. Has scheduling abilities, which allows up to 7 prescheduled runs per week, and comes with two virtual wall barriers.[94]
    850 2015 Similar to the 860 with less accessories.[95]
    860 2016 All the features of the 805, but has onboard HEPA filter and a more powerful motor.[96] Also contains a longer-lasting lithium-ion battery while the 870 and 880 have a NiMH (nickel–metal hydride) battery.[97]
    870 2014 Identical to the 860 except for a NiMH battery as opposed to a lithium-ion battery. Includes two virtual walls.[98]
    875 Similar to the 870 but retailed for European markets.[99]
    877 Upgrade with a lithium-ion battery and quicker charging time. Also released with the new “virtual lighthouse” accessory as opposed to the virtual wall, which can help guide a robot from one room to an adjoining room. Also can be controlled via a remote control.[100]
    880 2013 Flagship model of the 800 series, Similar to the 860 but comes with more accessories, such as virtual lighthouses, filters, brushes and a remote.[101]
    885 2015 Similar to the 880 but with upgraded battery and retailed for Asian markets.[102]
    890 2017 Yes Top of the line 800 series model that released with WiFi connectivity, which allowed communication with the robot via an app.[103]
    891 2017 Cost down version of the 890 that comes with less accessories, has a smaller dust bin, and is heavier, but otherwise has the same performance.[104]
    895 2017 Similar to the 890 but sold at select retailers including Kohl’s and Macy’s .[105]
    896 2017 Similar to the 890 but sold in select countries.[106]

    Seventh generation: 900 series[edit]

    980 model

    The Roomba 980 was released in September 2015 and contains a new visual simultaneous localization and mapping (vSLAM) navigation system, which allows it to clean an entire level of a home more efficiently. The 980 also features Wi-Fi connectivity and an iPhone and Android app.[107] The Roomba 960 was released on August 4, 2016.[108] As of March 29, 2017, 900 series users can receive detailed cleaning maps of their Roomba through the app. The maps show exact areas of clean and dirty spots in the home, allowing the Roomba to know where it needs to spend more time cleaning. However, the maps are not retained between cleaning runs, and each time the Roomba is run, it builds a new map from scratch. Push notifications of when the Roomba is finished cleaning are also a new feature. Integration to Amazon‘s Echo was also announced, launching in spring 2017.[109]

    Model Release Date Retailer Navigation Description
    960 2016 Various iAdapt 2.0 with vSLAM[110] Mid-range robot vacuum that is almost identical to the 980 but has a smaller battery and comes with one less virtual wall.[111][112]
    965 2016 Sold exclusively in Europe. European version of the Roomba 960, with the same features and specifications.[113][114]
    966 2016 European version of the Roomba 960, with the same features and specifications and different color from 965.[113]
    971 2017 Sold exclusively at select retailers, including Amazon, and Best Buy in India. Newer version of the Roomba 960, with the same features and specifications.[115]
    976 2018 Sold exclusively in Europe and India. Newer version of the Roomba 966, with the same features and specifications.[115]
    980 2015 North America. High-end robot vacuum that uses a camera-based navigation system to map out the home and clean efficiently. It also has Wi-Fi connectivity and a longer battery life than the Roomba 960.[116]
    981 2018 Sold exclusively in Europe. European version of the 980.[117]
    985 2020 Sold exclusively at Costco Newer version of the Roomba 980, with the same features and specifications with one less virtual wall.[118]

    Eighth generation: i series and e series[edit]

    Image of an iRobot Roomba i7+ on the auto empty dock
    e6 model

    In September 2018, iRobot introduced a new Roomba series with three models: the premium i7 and the more basic e5.[119] Each of these models also had a “plus” version that featured an automatic dirt disposal station that could be emptied. Similarly to the 900 series, the i7 uses vSLAM navigation. This feature retains the map after the Roomba has run, and uses subsequent runs to improve the map. This lets users select which room for Roomba to clean from the iRobot Home app.

    In September 2020, iRobot released the i3, which is a lower-cost robot similar to the i7. The i3 does not use vSLAM navigation but relies on a downward optical encoder and gyroscopes;[120] in addition, it doesn’t allow selecting specific rooms, though this capability was added in 2022 with a firmware update in some regions.[121] The i7 and i3 are compatible with the Clean Base, a base that empties the Roomba’s bin into the Clean Base’s internal disposable bag when it docks using a powerful vacuum. iRobot claims that the base can empty the Roomba’s bin up to 30 cleaning cycles.[122] The + in some models indicates that it includes the Clean Base. The basic e5 Roomba replaces the 800 series with an improved battery life of 60 to 90 minutes of run time on hardwood floors using a lithium-ion battery.[123] It navigates in random patterns similar to the 6th generation and older robots.[124]

    Model Release Date Navigation Description
    e5 2018 iAdapt 1.0 with reactive sensor technology Budget-friendly option in the Roomba e series, featuring the 3-Stage Cleaning System and the ability to be controlled with the iRobot HOME app.[125]
    e6 2019 Identical to the e5 but came with two virtual walls and an extra replacement filter.[126][127]
    e7 2019 Costco exclusive version of the e5
    i1 2020 iAdapt 2.0 Identical to the i3 with slightly different appearance and different color schemes. Marketed for specific retailers such as Kohl’s and Walmart[128][129]
    i1 + 2020 i1 robot with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin.
    i2 2022 Includes all of the features of the i3, but was special made for Amazon and Amazon Prime Day and.[130]
    i3 2020 Features a 3-Stage Cleaning System, the ability to be controlled with the iRobot HOME app or Alexa/Google Assistant voice commands, and compatibility with the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system (sold separately).[131][132]
    i3 + 2020 i3 robot with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin.
    i3 EVO 2022 iAdapt 3.0 Identical robot to the i3 but has upgraded firmware to include Smart Mapping functionality.[133][134]
    i3 EVO + 2022 i3 EVO robot with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin.
    i4 2021 Similar to the i3, but upgrades navigation to iAdapt 3.0 and adds a larger battery for 20% longer runtime. Also includes Imprint® Link Technology which can sync with the Braava mop to vacuum and mop floors simultaneously. Designated for International markets[131][135]
    i4 + 2021 i4 robot with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin.[135]
    i5 2022 Identical robot as the i4 but includes Imprint® Smart Maps capabilities. Also branded for European markets[136]
    i5 + 2022 i5 robot with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin.[137]
    Combo i5 2023 i5 robot with mopping capabilities, that comes with a bin just for vacuuming and a bin for both mopping and vacuuming. The i5+ variant includes the self-emptying bin. Only available in Europe.[138]
    i6 2020 iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM Similar to i7 but without extra side brush and filter.[139]
    i6 + 2020 i6 robot with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin, but without extra side brush, filter, and bag.[140]
    i7 2018 Features the ability to map and remember multiple floor plans, customizable cleaning preferences, and the ability to be controlled with the iRobot HOME app or Alexa/Google Assistant voice commands voice commands.
    i7 + 2018 i7 robot with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin.[141]
    i8 2019 Identical to i7 but comes with additional HEPA filter, virtual barrier device, and higher capacity battery.[142] Sold exclusively at Costco.
    i8+ 2019 i8 robot with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin, and comes with additional HEPA filter, dirtbag, virtual barrier device, and higher capacity battery.[142] Sold exclusively at Costco.
    Combo i8 2023 i8 robot with mopping capabilities, that comes with a bin just for vacuuming and a bin for both mopping and vacuuming. The i8+ variant includes the self-emptying bin. Only available in Europe.[143]

    Ninth generation: s series[edit]

    In late May 2019, iRobot introduced the Roomba s9 and s9+ as the “smartest, most powerful robot vacuum yet.”.[144] The S series features a newly designed “D” shape and corner brush for optimized edge cleaning deep into corners and along edges. Other new features include an anti-allergen system that traps 99% of pollen, mold, and allergens, 40 times the suction compared to the 600 series, 30% wider rubber brushes, and the most advanced navigation system to date.[144] Similar to the I series, the s9+ comes with the self-emptying Clean Base. The S series also includes linking technology that allows the Roomba to communicate wirelessly with other iRobot products, where the Braava Jet M6 can automatically be set to mop after the s9 has finished vacuuming.

    Tenth generation: j series[edit]

    The j7 and j7+ models went on sale in September 2021 and debuted Precision Vision: the navigation system that detects and avoids obstacles like power cords and pet waste. The j7 is a direct upgrade to the Roomba i7, with the same overall body design and rated ten times the suction compared to the standard model.[145] iRobot simultaneously removed the i7 from its website.

    In September 2022, iRobot announced the Roomba Combo j7+, which is a Roomba j7+ that includes mopping capabilities with a lifting mop. Shipping began on October 4.[146]On September 11, 2023, iRobot released the Roomba j9+, Combo j9+, and Combo j5. The Roomba j9+ offers 100% more suction compared to other j and i series Roombas. The Roomba Combo j9+ offers an entire new docking station with a water tank refill function added. Both j9+, Combo j9, and Combo j5 received new iRobot OS updates. The Combo j5 started shipping on September 11; however, the Roomba j9+ and Combo j9+ are still pre-orders. Shipping starts on 1 October.

    Model Release Date MSRP Navigation Description
    Combo j5 2023 $529.99 Precision Vision A cheaper choice for a j series Combo Roomba. The Combo j5 has a swapable dust bin, one for dry vacuuming and one with an attached mop for and mopping capabilities. It is the cheapest Roomba yet to have 2 in 1 cleaning option with Precision Navigation technology. Available for the US and other European countries.[147]
    Combo j5 + 2023 $729.00 Includes all the features of the combo j5, plus an automatic dirt disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin.[148]
    j6 + 2023 $799.99 Amazon exclusive version of the j7+.[149]
    j7 2021 $599.99 Base model of the tenth generation series.[150]
    j7+ 2021 $799.99 Includes all the features of the j7, plus an automatic dirt disposal system that allows the robot to empty its own dustbin.
    j7 Combo + 2022 $1099.99 “2-in-1” variant of the j7. Includes all the features of the j7 as well as a retractable mop on the back of the robot. The j7 Combo + can sense carpet and fully retract the mop to the top of the robot, and redeploy on hard surfaces.[151]
    j8 + 2022 Costco exclusive version of the j7+ with larger battery, extra disposable bags and filters.[152][153]
    j9+ 2023 $899.99 The Roomba j9+ is an upgrade to the j7. It has twice more suction compared to the j7. Offers Dirt Detect Technology, Precision Navigation an more updated iRobot OS and app function and the robot has new color scheme. Available for the US and other European countries.[154]
    Combo j9+ 2023 $1399.99 Roomba j9+ with mopping capability. Docking station is updated to have water tank refill up to 30 days, auto empty and included more storage for extra parts. SmartScrub is introduced along with all newly updated iRobot OS. Available in the US and other European countries.[155]

    Other variants[edit]

    iRobot has also released roomba variants that do not fall into the traditional generation classifications. These variants typically have their own naming conventions, and/or have different architectures. The earliest known variant is the r1, released in 2021. The r1 contained two side brushes instead of one, one main roller instead of two, and a removable mop pad.[156][157]

    In April 2023, iRobot announced the Roomba Combo® Essential Robot, which also included a single main roller and a removable mop pad.[158]

    Model Release Date MSRP Description
    r1 2021 289.00 Fr Roomba mop combo variant that uses two side brushed, two main rollers and a mopping pad at the back of the robot. Has wifi capabilities and can be controlled with the iRobot HOME app. Also has voice assistant capabilities. Only available in Switzerland.[156][157]
    Roomba Combo® Essential (y014020) 2024 $274.99 Roomba mop combo variant with one main roller, removable mopping pad, and a water reservoir. Works with iRobot OS and the iRobot Home App. Also compatible with voice assistance such as Google Home and Alexa.[158]
    Roomba Vac Essential (q0120) 2024 $249.99 Vacuum only variant of the Roomba Combo® Essential without the mop pad.[159]

    Programming[edit]

    A hacked Roomba drawing a Spirograph-like pattern

    From the earliest models on, Roomba vacuum cleaning robots have been hacked to extend their functionality. The first adaptations were based on a microcontroller that was directly connected to the motor drivers and sensors.[160] Versions manufactured after October 2005 contain an electronic and software interface that allows hackers to more easily control or modify behavior and remotely monitor its sensors.[161] One early application was using the device to map a room.[162] The native code for Roomba is written in a dialect of Lisp.[163]

    Models with an interface (400 series since October 2007 plus 500 and 700 series) come with a Mini-DIN connector supporting a serial interface, which is electrically and physically incompatible with standard PC/Mac serial ports and cables. However, third-party adapters are available to access the Roomba’s computer via Bluetooth, USB, or RS-232 (PC/Mac serial).[164] Roombas pre-October 2005 upgraded with the OSMO hacker[165] device allow monitoring many sensors and modifying the unit’s behavior. The Roomba Open Interface (OI, formerly Roomba Serial Command Interface) allows programmers and roboticists to create their own enhancements.[166] Several projects are described on Roomba hacking sites.[167]

    In response to the growing interest of hackers in their product, the company developed the iRobot Create. In this model the vacuum cleaner motor is replaced by a “cargo bay” for mounting devices like TV cameras, lasers and other robotic parts. It provides a greatly enhanced 25-pin interface providing both analog and digital bidirectional communication with the hosted device allowing use as the mobile base for completely new robots. Together with a computing platform like a netbook or handheld device with wireless networking, it can be remotely controlled through a network.[168]

    See also[edit]

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    External links[edit]

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