(The Wall Street Journal) — The evolution of robot vacuums, created by companies like iRobot and Neato, has largely been incremental. Each successive generation has been less obtuse than the previous — but just a bit. More sweeping change is afoot with the latest crop of these machines. With the addition of cameras, for example, some robots can now steer clear of a wall or other obstacle. They’ll still bump into things, but a lot less often.
On-board cameras help the newer vacuum bots figure out where they’ve been, and this makes a host of new skills possible. Some robot vacuums like iRobot and Samsung can clean an area, return to their bases to recharge their batteries, and then pick up where they left off without traversing the same area again. For the first time, there are robot vacuums that can connect to the Internet, allowing them to be activated from afar via a smartphone app.Tags: iRobot, Neato, robotics, smartphone app for robot vacuums