IRobot co-founder and CEO Colin Angle said that power cords and pet poop are the most common obstacles in the Roomba’s way.
On Thursday iRobot announced a new Roomba robot vacuum cleaner called the j7+ that uses AI to spot and stay away from pet poop and power cords.
The new Roomba uses machine vision to recognize pet waste. But in order to make this possible, the company first had to create a diverse dataset of poop.
The vacuum has a camera to spot obstacles, and image-recognition algorithms trained on iRobot’s dataset can determine whether that obstacle appears to be poop.
An accompanying smartphone app can then alert the vacuum’s owner, along with a picture of the mess (or power cord). Any time an obstacle is detected, a user can decide, via the app, if they want to contribute the image to iRobot’s training data.
The vacuum, which is initially available through iRobot’s website, costs $850 or $650 if bought without a base that the vacuum can automatically empty the dirt into.