The Dyson 360 Eye is the most hyped robot vacuum ever. And it should be. The Dyson 360 Eye has been in development for more than 18 years and cost upwards of $56 million to build.
The Dyson 360 Eye robot vacuum will finally go on sale in the United States on August 1, 2016 for $999. Most of the reviews at this point are overwhelmingly positive, with many calling the Dyson 360 Eye the best robot vacuum ever. There are some negatives, however, such as the 360 Eye’s 45-minute run time – about half of the iRobot Roomba 980 – the small 0.33-liter bin, and its 4.72-inch height that prevents it from cleaning under certain types of furniture.
It’s only fair to compare the Dyson 360 Eye to the Roomba, which has long been the standard when it comes to robot vacuums. Afterall, the first Roomba was released in 2002, and iRobot has sold more than 15 million Roombas worldwide.
iRobot Weighs in on Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum
We’ve already compared the Dyson 360 Eye and Roomba 980, but we wanted to get iRobot’s reaction to potentially its biggest rival to date. Here’s a statement iRobot sent to Robotics Trends when asked to comment on the Dyson 360 Eye:
“Others are realizing what we have known all along – that vacuum cleaning is a job best suited for a robot. We welcome good competition as it will help to expand the market.
“Since first introducing Roomba to the world in 2002, we have continued to develop innovative robotic technologies that help people accomplish more. With our newest Roomba model, the Roomba 980, we brought to the market a robot that has mapping capabilities, is cloud-connected and cleans an entire level of the home. While some competitive robots rely heavily on one sensor, like a camera or laser, Roomba 980 uses a full suite of sensors to ensure product reliability and effective performance. iRobot’s iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization allows our robots to clean in real-world, ever-changing environments. It ensures thorough cleaning results all of the time, throughout the entire home, including under furniture.”
Is iRobot taking a shot at Dyson’s 360-degree standard-definition camera when it says “some competitive robots rely heavily on one sensor, like a camera or laser, Roomba 980 uses a full suite of sensors to ensure product reliability and effective performance?” And is iRobot taking another shot at the height of the Dyson 360 Eye and its inability to clean under certain furniture when it said the Roomba 980 “ensures thorough cleaning results all of the time, throughout the entire home, including under furniture.” We’ll leave it up to you to decide, but clearly iRobot isn’t fazed by the arrival of the 360 Eye robot vacuum.
Panoramic camera on top of the Dyson 360 Eye robot vacuum. (Credit: Reviewed.com/Jonathan Chan)
Here’s how Dyson responded:
“The Dyson 360 Eye robot is the result of intensive research and development by a team of more than 200 Dyson engineers. Rather than a gimmick, we set out to create a robotic vacuum cleaner that genuinely cleans your floors, and which does so intelligently. While many robotic vacuum cleaners rely on sensors to find their way around a room, the Dyson robot sees its environment using a 360° vision system. Taking up to 30 frames per second, the machine intelligently builds a detailed floor plan to systematically navigate around a room and track its position – so it knows where it’s been and where it is yet to go. Additionally, the machine uses ground and front facing infrared sensors to complement the camera and navigate obstacles.
“But perhaps more importantly, being a vacuum cleaner first and foremost, 360 Eye is the only robot built around technologies developed for full-size and cord-free vacuums: the Dyson digital motor, patented radial root cyclone technology and a full-width carbon-fiber brushbar. Together these advanced technologies ensure powerful cleaning performance across all floor types, and in hard to reach spaces that others miss – with incredibly strong suction. Genuine cleaning requires good suction and pickup. If you cannot get deep into the pile of a carpet and you cannot suck the dirt into the machine, it doesn’t matter how many times you go over the same bit of floor, you won’t achieve the same level of performance.”
Roomba Inventor ‘Less Impressed’ with 360 Eye
Robotics Trends also reached out to Joe Jones, father of the Roomba, who back in June 1999, alongside Paul Sandin, proposed the Roomba to iRobot. Jones said he is “less impressed with the Dyson [360 Eye] than you might expect,” adding that he thought robot vacuums would have progressed much quicker than they have.
“Dyson’s technology is undeniably much cooler than that of the first Roomba,” Jones said. “But in the cleanliness per dollar measure, I’m not sure it represents an advancement. I read a review of the Dyson with a curious but telling ending: ‘This [is] the best robot vacuum cleaner. I just can’t justify buying one right now.’ Products that are so good as to be unaffordable leave me cold.”
“And one more point – you can simulate the Dyson if you can’t afford one. If you have an inexpensive robot that doesn’t clean as well, make it do the job twice or three times. The robot doesn’t have anything else to do.”
Jones’ comment about simulating the Dyson 360 Eye could also be applied to the Roomba 980, which comes in slightly cheaper at $900. But he’s right, there are other less expensive robot vacuums on the market that do a nice job, such as the $700 Neato Botvac Connected robot vacuum.
Competition is only a good thing. And the Dyson 360 Eye should raise the expectations and performance of robot vacuums going forward.