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VACUUMS & SWEEPERS


As well as this, the brush bar on the 360 Eye can extend to the full width of the cleaner. It doesn’t rely on side sweepers to reach the edges of the room, and uses patented carbon fibre brush-bar technology to remove fine dust on hard floors, alongside stiff nylon bristles to agitate and clean carpets. This ensures a deeper clean, where other robotic vacuums can end up merely flicking particles around.


The 360 Eye maps its environment using a unique 360° panoramic camera housed in a lens on top of the machine, and then builds a detailed floor plan to intelligently and systematically navigate around a room and track its position. Infrared sensors also work in conjunction with the camera, enabling it to accurately triangulate its position. It takes up to 30 frames per second and uses landmarks within these images to establish how it has moved between each frame, before updating its model of the environment accordingly.


As the shutter speed of the camera matches the machine’s speed of


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travel, its position is always accurate to within the millimetre, so it not only knows exactly where it is in the room, but where any potential obstacles lie. During development, the 360 Eye prototypes will have analysed around 1.5 billion images.


Rigorous tests were carried out on the robot to ensure it delivers on performance, with the tank-like tracks it runs on tested against a rolling road, with steps to climb over. This meant that the suspension was tested for more than 224,000 bump strips over the span of a thousand hours, travelling 810km in the process.


Engineers at Dyson also designed a series of radio controlled rigs that allowed them to test for balance and navigational effectiveness over obstacles. The machine was driven on different floor types at variable speeds, while lighting was dimmed and made brighter to ensure that all variables were met.


The new robot is the result of 16 years and £28million worth of intensive research and development by a team


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of more than 200 Dyson engineers. Algebra, probability theory, geometry and trigonometry combine to create the 360 Eye robot’s vision of the world, and it took more than 100,000 hours from a team of 31 robotic software engineers to create the navigation system. The company has also invested a further £150million in the development of the Dyson Digital Motor that powers the robot.


Plus, in February this year, Dyson invested £5million into a joint robotics lab with Imperial College London, the research completed there will focus on vision systems like the one used in the 360 Eye, and could lead to further new robotic capabilities. The Dyson 360 Eye will go on sale in Japan in Spring 2015, with the rest of the world to follow later in the year.


www.dyson.co.uk


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