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Hoovering via an app? Dyson launches robot vacuum cleaner

Dyson has launched its first robotic vacuum cleaner that owners can control via an app and which has a 360-degree "eye" to navigate itself around a room.

The Dyson 360 Eye is the product of 16 years of research and uses infrared sensors and a panoramic camera lens on top of the machine to triangulate its position and plot its path with the help of landmarks like bookshelves and chairs.

The camera takes up to 30 images of the room every second and means the machine can constantly establish where it is, where it has been and where it still needs to clean.

The machine has 20 to 30 minutes of battery life and manoeuvres around on tank-like tracks that can take it over small obstacles, meaning users can set it going via their smart phone while commuting, in the office or on holiday and come home to a clean house.

Dyson follows Miele, Samsung and LG into the sector, but the company claims its use of a 360 degree camera that can see all around the room at once is unique and says the machine has the most powerful suction of any robot vacuum on the market.

Its machine is powered by a V2 Dyson digital motor and uses the company's Cyclone technology to separate dust and dirt, capturing particles down to 0.5 microns - or 600 times smaller than a standard typed full stop.

The brush bar, which extends to full width of the machine, uses patented carbon fibre technology to remove fine dust on hard floors and has stiff nylon bristles to agitate and clean carpets.

Dyson said there were more than 420 patents and patent applications worldwide relating to technology used in the robot.

The company is not yet revealing the price of the 360 Eye, but the vacuum will go on sale in Japan in spring next year and in the UK in the summer.

Rumours the company was working on a robotic vacuum cleaner gathered pace earlier this year when researchers at Imperial College London announced a £5 million tie-up focusing on the technology.

Dyson said the 360 Eye, known until now as Project N223, followed £28 million worth of research and development by a team of more than 200 Dyson engineers.

Algebra, probability theory, geometry and trigonometry combined to create the "eye" of the machine, taking 31 software engineers more than 100,000 hours to create the navigation system.

Company founder Sir James Dyson, known for inventing bagless cleaners and bladeless fans, said: "Most robotic vacuum cleaners don't see their environment, have little suction, and don't clean properly. They are gimmicks.

"We've been developing a unique 360 degree vision system that lets our robot see where it is, where it has been, and where it is yet to clean.

"Vision, combined with our high speed digital motor and cyclone technology, is the key to achieving a high performing robot vacuum - a genuine labour saving device."

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