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October 08, 2021

How Do Robot Vacuums Work?

Technology is humbling. We have smart televisions changing channels with a simple voice command, phones automatically correcting our spelling, and cars that can parallel park for us. It’s like watching a magician perform a trick. How did that happen? The same can be said when it comes to a robot vacuum. It doesn’t have eyes, yet it finds the dirt every time. It doesn’t have a brain, yet it somehow knows when to avoid the staircase. When we see a robot vacuum bump into a chair, it’s humorous because it’s relatable. We all have the potential to make mistakes. It’s fascinating to figure out how a vacuum learns from said mistakes. How does it know where to go? Why does it seem like it has a brain? Is there more than one way to teach a robot how to clean a room?

As it turns out, there are multiple ways to design a robot vacuum’s sense of direction. It’s useful to understand how all the models work to select the best one for a home. Don’t worry; you don’t need a four-year degree to understand all the terms and phrases. It’s definitely not rocket science; it’s robot science! Let’s explore all the different types of robot technology so you can get the best vacuum out there.

Sense & Sensibility

Let’s talk about how a robot senses where it needs to go. There are a few ways engineers create a navigational system. The first one we’ll discuss is a design that uses collision and proximity sensors. This technology uses a robot’s wheels, brushes, and its front bumper to help it move around a room. Think of it as a very polite blind mole. This robot vacuum is designed to clean in a straight line until an object is in its path. Based on the size of the object, the robot will react by going in the opposite direction or by going around the object. A cliff sensor keeps it from falling down the stairs. There are positives and negatives to this design. The good news is that it is very affordable. The not so good news is that it’s not effective at getting your whole house clean. Because of its reactive pathfinding, these vacuums will focus more on areas of collision, rather than evenly cleaning the entire room. That’s okay if you have a lot of dust around your chair legs, but that also means the open areas will often get neglected. This vacuum may only pass through an open space once or twice, which is not enough.

robot senses

An Inner Eye

A more advanced robot vacuum will have an optical navigation sensor. It combines the same technology with a collision sensor and adds an augmented lens to the mix. The lens aides the robot visually, allowing it to see where it has been and where it still needs to go. Additionally, this robot has a better judgment of places to avoid. A robot using an optical eye does not need to be rescued as often as a robot that only uses collision sensors.

This robot design does have a downside; it depends upon light to see. If a room is too dark, then a robot relying on an optical eye becomes an overpriced collision robot. A home can be quite busy during the day, and most people prefer not to have a robot clean until everything has settled down. If you need a robot vacuum to clean at night, this is not a satisfying situation.

Laser-Sharp Focus

The ideal technology for a robot vacuum involves two components: amazing laser sensors and a detailed algorithm mapping capability. If those words sound confusing, we can break it down for you. High-quality navigation begins with how a vacuum takes in the information of the home. Previously we talked about how a cheaper vacuum will use either collision or an augmented lens, but a superior vacuum will use laser technology to sweep the entire room. The next step to premium navigation is how that information is processed. A higher-quality vacuum will take the information and develop its own optimal floor cleaning plan. It will already be aware of obstacles and have a detailed route prepared for that specific room. With laser sensors and the most efficient execution, this vacuum cleans more in less time.

robot cleaner sharp focus

The best vacuum will offer a little something extra: the ability to put up boundaries without having to lift a finger. Well, maybe one or two fingers on your phone. With the latest technology from Roborock, you can create virtual walls on an app that will tell the vacuum where it cannot go. You can block off as many sections as you like, and the robot will avoid those areas until you remove the virtual barriers. You can also use the app when you want to concentrate on one room, like the kitchen after breakfast.

Roborock can give you a hands-off experience with virtual walls and voice technology. Some models are compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You can use voice commands to get the home clean when you need most. With the newest technologies, you don’t have to work as hard as your cumbersome vacuum. Free up your days and nights with Roborock. Explore our website at to find the latest navigational technology today.