Google Teams Up with iRobot to Map Out Your Home

Google has partnered with iRobot to integrate their floor plan-mapping technologies into larger smart home systems.

google-home-irobot
Google Home Uses iRobot for Map Technologies

Utilizing iRobot’s home maps would allow for easier smart home integrations and more home automations. Google wants to use the maps that the Roomba creates to help locate connected devices. In the future, these maps could lay the foundation for more advanced robots programmed to retrieve items around the house for their user.

“This idea is that when you say, ‘OK Google, turn the lights on in the kitchen,’ you need to know what lights are in the kitchen. And if I say, ‘OK future iRobot robot with an arm, go get me a beer,’ it needs to know where the kitchen and the refrigerator are”

said iRobot CEO Colin Angle in an interview with The Verge. 

iRobot’s latest vacuum, the Roomba i7, uses odometry data (gained from measuring how far the vacuum’s wheels move) and low-res camera imagery to create maps of homes. These maps allow users to have the vacuums clean specific areas of their homes. While the maps are sent to iRobot’s servers, the low-res images remain on the device.

Already, users can tell their vacuums to clean through Google Assistant, but Google does not receive any information about a house’s layout. In contrast, it works by learning the names that the users have assigned to areas of their homes.

Given Google’s past security issues, they would like to emphasize that sharing home map data is voluntary. Concurrently, the data will be not be used to inform targeted ad campaigns. Google’s goal is to create a more “thoughtful home” that requires less user input, according to Michele Chambers Turner, senior director of Google’s smart home ecosystem. “We’re excited to be exploring with iRobot how its unique spatial awareness technology can work with the Assistant to offer customers a more intuitive and personalized experience in their homes.”

 

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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