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The new tech powering robot vacuums


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Robot vacuum cleaners have never been more versatile or easy to use. Here are 5 cutting-edge features that you should consider for your next model.

Robot vacuums used to be one-trick ponies. They could (sort of) clean a small, uncluttered space, but that was about it. Fortunately, recent technological breakthroughs have made these gadgets a lot more versatile than they used to be (not to mention more fun to use).

Here are five cutting-edge features that your next robot vacuum should definitely come equipped with.

This guide is sponsored by Roborock, part of the Xiaomi ecological chain. Roborock specialises in the research, development and production of robotic home cleaners and other cleaning appliances. Find out more.

Improved AI

Without artificial intelligence, a robot vacuum cleaner is just a motorised sucking machine with sensors. It will still get the job done, but very crudely and with a lot of assistance from the owner. The inclusion of AI software is like giving your robot vacuum a rudimentary brain. It will be able to accurately identify objects in its path and make navigational decisions on the fly, resulting in a precise clean without getting tangled or stuck.

Larger bin capacities

Roborock vacuum bin
Robot vacuums have often been criticised for their diminutive dustbin boxes compared to traditional vacuum cleaners. This is slowly improving. The latest models can suck up an impressive amount of dirt before reaching their full capacity (some even come with self-emptying bins!). When buying a new robot vacuum, make sure it has a dustbin capacity of at least 450mL.

Modular attachments

Roborock water tank
The latest robot vacuum cleaners don't just suck up dust – they can do everything from sanitising surfaces to polishing hardwood floors. This added versatility is usually achieved via a modular design that allows you to snap on different cleaning attachments as needed.

For example, the Roborock S6 MaxV comes with a SnapMop Add-On and 297mL electronic water tank which allows it to mop floors while simultaneously vacuuming. Check the packaging to see if the robot vacuum you're interested in supports modular attachments.

Advanced cameras

Roborock vacuum lenses

The camera at the front of a robot vacuum acts as its eye, so it makes sense to have more than one of them (think depth perception). While earlier robot vacuums came with a single rudimentary lens, the latest models have vastly improved "sight", which makes it easier for them to assess their surroundings while cleaning.

The Roborock S6 MaxV packs in twin cameras with infrared imaging for vastly improved object avoidance. It can detect and navigate around objects as small as 3cm tall. If your home is frequently cluttered, look for an advanced camera system that can estimate the location and size of random objects. As an added bonus, an improved camera system also means you can view your home's interior through the robot's eyes remotely via your phone or tablet.

Bigger batteries

One of the biggest downsides of robot vacuum cleaners is their reliance on rechargeable batteries. While a traditional vacuum's motor will keep running until you're too tired to push it, a robot vacuum will run out of juice much quicker. Fortunately, the latest breed of vacuum cleaner has rendered this less of an issue. Most now come with docking stations that they will return to unassisted when it's time to recharge. You can also get much larger batteries. The latest robot vacuum cleaners from Roborock boast 5,200mAh batteries, for example.

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