In the lab, robots are engineered for mind-blowing displays of perception and agility, like Boston Dynamics’ parkour performing bot and the humanoid shooting hoops at the Olympics.
But in the home, this technology is now deployed for the mundane task of spotting dog poop — a feature with expansive potential privacy costs.
“Roomba j7+,” the latest version of iRobot’s popular home vacuum, claims to give customers “even more control over their clean,” with a camera that can identify and avoid pet droppings. Instead of smearing it all over the floor, the device will gracefully avoid the poop and even snap a picture and text it to your phone if you’re out, the company says.
The $849 vacuum, released last week, relies on an artificial intelligence-boosted brain and camera system to identify objects on the floor in real-time. It’s designed to be a “thoughtful, collaborative cleaning partner” suited for people who want tech to serve them better, iRobot says in a news release. For the company that pioneered robot vacuums, it represents a significant upgrade.