Robot Vacuum Dyson [Mechanical engineering]

Robot Vacuum Dyson

Why Dyson's pricey robot vacuum is late for its Japanese debut

Sir James Dyson already explained how the 360 Eye works, but earlier this week we talked to the company's Senior Robotics Engineer, Mike Aldred. He's been working with robotics at Dyson for a while (including the DC06, the robot vacuum that never made it to stores), so there's likely no-one better placed to explain what caused the robot vacuum's debut to be delayed so much.

During beta testing in Japanese homes, the company realized the 360 Eye wasn't ready for the posited Spring retail date. Feedback from users indicated some specific problems that the engineers hadn't thought of: in Japanese homes most have a tiny lowered entrance, the "genkan", which is roughly 50mm lower than the rest of the house. The 360 Eye had troubles adjusting to this feature, so the company had to reprogram how the robot saw the space. "We can't just set a height.. We still need to go up and down things [like carpets, rugs]. So we went back to the height handling systems." explains Aldred.

Does Dyson's robot chew up cables? It's designed (in a few ways) not to.

I own a Roomba robot vacuum here in Japan, and while I like the extra degree of laziness it adds to my life, there's one crime I can't forgive of it: its incessant hunger for cables. Does Dyson's robot chew up cables? It shouldn't, a it's specifically designed not to. Dyson made the base of the machine is particularly smooth, and put the cleaning bar (aside from the bristles) flush along the base to spare cable a grisly end. It's not perfect: the senior engineer adds that while the 360 Eye should easily run over cables and wires laid flat, any kink or loop could get drawn in. He added this was something they discovered in very early testing, especially stereo wires. In the retail model, the team had to adjust the guards on the caterpillar tread wheels which would sometimes catch on wires.

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