It is named straightforwardly. The new Dyson 360 Eye is a vacuum cleaner, with a whole parcel of new technology, including a 360-degree robotic eye that enables this machine to go where no bot has gone before: deep into your carpets, and thoroughly through your living spaces, making the weekly cleaning an efficient, high-quality, low-effort affair. It even self-docks to recharge, when necessary.
Rob Green, senior design engineer at Dyson, has worked on this project for the last 10 years—though it has been in production for longer. “It was over 17 years ago, and over 200 people working on the team through the years,” he says of its origins. “Our first priority was to design a great vacuum. Then, robotics and navigation came into play. By 1998, we had a robot vacuum, but it really was not ready for market. The technologies needed did not exist.” So, in large part, the Dyson team invented those technologies; by last count, just over 420 worldwide patents were either granted or pending. Green says, simply, “it is a layered, complicated product.”
Green explains some of the main hurdles. “Achieving 10 to 12 amps off battery power is a big ask,” he says. “My own particular specialty is the electric motor, so our biggest challenge was the power consumption. When we began, we could get 20 to 25 per cent efficiency from the motor. What we ended with is about 75 per cent.” No matter how well the device cleans, however, it still would not be a viable commercial product if it had to recharge every 15 minutes. But the lithium-ion battery achieves remarkable results, powering a digital motor that can get to 78,000 revolutions per minute, and can last a full 45 minutes, with two-and-a-half hours of charging time.
Unlike its competitors, Dyson’s 360 Eye does not rely on sensors, but rather on what they call a “vision system”. This robotic eye, in fact a 360-degree camera, enables the machine to create its own map of whatever room it is in, and plot out the most efficient cleaning pattern. Infrared sensors assist in detecting obstructions of all kinds, and tank-like tracks enable the machine to traverse multiple surface types.
On top of that, the Dyson Link app means owners can communicate remotely with the vacuum. “We can even make software improvements on an ongoing basis using the app,” Green says. “Remarkable.” Just think: you can plan your Saturday afternoon, including a freshly vacuumed home, all the while taking in a matinee or a Grouse Grind. Remarkable, indeed.