It was the Jetsons that I wanted to keep up with. Not the Joneses. That Hanna-Barbera cartoon—The Jetsons—about a family living in the far future. In their world, there are flying cars, smart shoes and Rosie, the sardonic robot cleaner. We're still waiting for the flying car and smart shoes have several miles to go before it becomes a reality.
But a robot cleaner? That future is already here.
Sure, Dyson may have reinvented the vacuum cleaner (more specifically, its digital motor, which can reach up to 120,000 rpm) but ECOVACS is pushing the boundaries with its household robotics (more specifically, the robovacuum range). Before Cyberdyne Systems came into being, ECOVACS was already trying to put a robot in every household (fun fact: ECOVACS' motto is "a robot for every family", which is a lot more palatable than Cyberdyne Systems' "Kill John Connor".
ECOVACS' latest tech is the DEEBOT X1 Omni, which elevates the cleaning game by having a base station that does cleaning, water refilling, hot-air drying and dust emptying; and without you lifting a finger. Given the features, the base station will take up space. The robovacuum is a DEEBOT X1 model and has a suction power of 5,000Pa, which the brand touts as the "strongest in the industry". We tried out the DEEBOT X1 Omni, to see how it fare.
Previously, we used a robot vacuum from Xiaomi and it did what it was supposed to until it couldn't. The DEEBOT X1 does what the Xiaomi model did and then some. Check out two of ECOVACS IP for the DEEBOT model: AIVI 3D AI and visual recognition tech; OZMO Mopping System.
AIVI 3D AI and visual recognition
The issue I had with my previous robovacuum is the machine's inability to stop at ledges before it falls over to the lower flooring. This AIVI feature allows the DEEBOT X1 to ascertain whether there's a drop ahead. It also circumvents obstacles more accurately. After it mapped out the room, we placed a pair of house slippers in the middle of the room and the machine was able to recognise the object and go around it.
Another surprise was that it also operated in total darkness. We didn't think that it could map out a room under the cover of night but there you go.
OZMO Mopping System
It's not enough that it is sucking up dust, the machine mops the floor as well. It's that sort of extra push that doesn't give you that icky feeling when your bare feet touches the floor. For the DEEBOT X1, the OZMO Mopping System is upgraded to a OZMO Turbo 2.0 Rotary Pressure Mopping System. As the name implies, it cane clean up stains—even the ones that have hardened—with ease.
YIKO Intelligent Voice Assistant
You can control the DEEBOT X1 from an ECOVACS app but there's also a voice assist feature. The company purported that this is the first time this trait is implemented for a robovacuum. Saying, 'Hi YIKO' and the machine will reply with an 'I'm here', then you can ask it to do a series of stuff like 'smart mapping' or 'return to charge' or 'kill John Connor'- nope, sorry. I got carried away.
Did I mention how much I'm blown away by its mapping capabilities? The DEEBOT X1 operates on a Horizon GAI chip and now supports real-time pixel-level video segmentation, structured video analysis and visual attention perception. Watch the machine map a room in real-time on your app and it's like seeing the Fog of War being lifted as it generates an accurate 3D spatial map. It is able to ascertain that the legs of the table and chairs as separate entities instead of it being a combined mass.
You can operate the DEEBOT X1 from anywhere in the world. As long as you're connected, you're able to see (in real-time) and manoeuvre the machine out of its charging dock and clean up. This and freaking out my cat as I'm operating it like an unstoppable instrument of cleanliness.