For pet owners, the Roomba automated vacuum has been both a blessing and a curse. Deftly able to scoop up pet hair autonomously as well as offer cats free rides, the device has won over pet households.
There’s just one lingering issue: When a pet makes a mess on a floor, Roomba can dive in to clean it up, creating an even bigger mess than before.
iRobot, the company behind Roomba, believes it has found a solution. As Mashable reports, the new Roomba j7+Robot Vacuum with Genius 3.0 Home Intelligence comes equipped with what the company calls PrecisionVision Navigation, a somewhat upscale term for the ability to swerve around dog poop.
In addition to all of the typical Roomba features, like “remembering” how to best clean certain rooms and going out for clean-up duty when you’re not home, the j7+ “recognizes and avoids cords and pet waste, giving you peace of mind that the job will get done.”
Apparently, this kind of poop-averse artificial intelligence has been in the works for a long time. "It’s a big deal for us," iRobot founder and CEO Colin Angle told The Verge. "We’ve been working on it for a long time and we’re guaranteeing that it works."
Angle added that his company had used Play-Doh in product testing to simulate canine accidents.
The j7+ can apparently detect and avoid solid waste, though some other consistencies might be harder for the robot to recognize. (No one’s perfect.)
You can find the Roomba j7+ online or at retailers beginning September 19. It retails for $849.99.