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article imageSmarter robot vacuum cleaners in development

By Tim Sandle     Aug 18, 2017 in Technology
Imagine being able to control when your office is cleaned, via a robot vacuum cleaner, controlled from an app like Outlook? Such technology is not far away.
The robot cleaner is becoming closer to reality; German engineers, from the Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO, are developing an intelligent cleaning concept for smart offices. The development utilizes Internet of Things technology.
The aim of the Fraunhofer concept is to enable office workers to use an intelligent booking system via a common office tool like Outlook to schedule the automated services of an iRobot Roomba 650 robot vacuum cleaner. This device uses the iAdapt navigation system to operate a suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to the changing workplace. The robot comes equipped with a three stage cleaning system which agitates, brushes and suctions floors. When power is running low, the intelligent machine automatically docks and recharges.
Taking existing bookings and the bookings for workplace rooms with higher priority into account, the robot is capable of creating and updating its schedule in real time. When one booking clashes with another, the robot is able to suggest alternative slots. Another feature of the smart technology is that when conference rooms have been reserved the robot can autonomously determine the best way to ensure those rooms are always clean for the next meeting or event.
From the charging station, the robot navigates its way to the room or office that requires cleaning through the use if a virtual map. The maps are uploaded onto a cloud, and the accessible to the robot via Internet connectivity. There's no need for human intervention, provided internal doors open automatically via sensors (otherwise a human needs to open the door for the device). An alternative way for the robot to get a door to open is by connecting the Roomba to speech assistants such as Amazon Alexa.
Most of this possible via the Internet of Things; whereas some devices have connectivity issues, the robot has been equipped to work through a platform called the ENTOURAGE ecosystem. This allows for cross-platform use of smart services, which enables the Roomba vacuum assistant to communicate with speech assistants of different manufacturers as well as to coordinate with other devices such as a robotic floor mop.
Through the use of such robotic systems, the smart office can become the clean office.
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