The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Robot Vacuums Is This New Feature

All images: Neato

Long gone are the days when robot vacuums would simply bump their way around your home while they randomly cleaned. But even with upgraded smarts and better sensors, modern robovacs can still wander into places you don’t want them, so Neato is introducing a potentially brilliant new feature letting you limit the travels of its newest robovac by drawing virtual boundary lines in an app.

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Neato Botvac Connected D7
Neato Botvac Connected D7

Neato claims its new Botvac D7 Connected is the most advanced robotic cleaner the company has ever developed, but using a suite of sensors to map out a room and plan the most efficient cleaning routine is a feature we’ve seen before, and come to expect in a high-end robovac. It’s the updates to the bot’s accompanying smartphone app that could really make the D7 really stand out.

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Floor maps let users see where the robovac has or hasn’t cleaned.
Floor maps let users see where the robovac has or hasn’t cleaned.

During the robot’s initial cleaning of your home, or during a Discovery Mode where it simply drives around, it uses its cameras and sensors to create a detailed floor plan map of every room, which can be viewed from within the map. These floor plan maps are used to show where the robot has actually cleaned during a run, where it hasn’t, and where it ran into obstacles that prevented access. But the D7 Connected introduces a new additional feature called “No-Go” boundary lines that let users draw virtual boundary lines on those maps to limit where the robovac can travel.

In the past, preventing a robovac from going into a specific room, or from tumbling down stairs, required you to install sensor fences, put tape across the floor, or just put a physical obstacle in the robot’s path. It was almost as much a hassle as just getting up and vacuuming your floors yourself, which is why this new feature from Neato has the potential to make robot vacuums much easier to manage, and a genuine time-saving tool.

Illustration for article titled The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Robot Vacuums Is This New Feature
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The upgrade doesn’t come cheap, however. The Neato app might be free, but the new Botvac D7 Connected will set you back a hefty $800 when it’s available later this year. That’s more expensive than even top-of-the-line Dyson vacuums, but it will result in savings if you consider your time more valuable than money. With the new mapping features and virtual boundaries you can program your Botvac D7 Connected to clean during the day while you’re away, without having to worry about it getting stuck somewhere, or wandering into a cluttered room making more of a mess than you did.

[Neato Robotics]

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DISCUSSION

virtualmirage
VirtualMirage

Damn, and I just bought their current flagship model, the Botvac Connected, this past weekend. At least I managed to get 20% off the price. I’m loving it so far and I am amazed at how accurately it maps out my house. It would be nice, however, if it would stop trying to climb the legs of my dining room table (which are sloped) and getting stuck. It is really the only area that gives the Botvac some trouble for me.

Looking at the specs on their website and comparing it to mine, I’d be curious if my Botvac will be capable of this “no go” virtual boundaries via a software update. The boundary tape works, for the most part, but I don’t want to place it everywhere I don’t want it to go, especially if it is only temporary. This virtual boundary capability would be pretty sweet in those cases.