iRobot, maker of the popular Roomba automatic vacuum cleaner, has revealed plans to map the inside of people’s homes. This information would then be sold to other smarthome device makers to improve features and the quality of those products.
The idea is that smart appliances like thermostats, lights, and security cameras currently exist in a bubble. They work in a high specific manner, with no context for the conditions of their operation. This is where iRobot believes that it can help other manufacturers improve.
The Roomba is currently equipped with multiple sensors for navigation and mapping, allowing it to remember locations. At the moment, this is used to create a point of return in case it needs to stop to recharge.
However, iRobot wants to be able to use the information for smart lights adjust according to the time of day and location of the room; thermostats that are able to calculate airflow between rooms for aircondition units; and sound systems that account for the acoustics of the actual room they are in.
iRobot admits that there are some privacy concerns about mapping the inside of a house. Particularly since there will be a lot of sensitive information being transmitted to what are effectively companies out to make a profit. However, it believes that people will still opt in should they be given the option to make their home appliances more efficient.