LG Hom-Bot – a smart vacuum cleaning robot
In one of our mini-series we started a while ago, we wrote about robotic vacuum cleaners that could take the throne from the ruler of that niche. In this article we’re going to write about LG RoboKing’s successor named Hom-Bot Smart Vacuum Cleaning Robot. The robot is developed for the European market, and it’s much better than its predecessor, but the folks from LG haven’t learned from their previous mistakes in pricing.
Hom-Bot vacuuming robot dimensions are 36 x 9 cm (14 x 3.5 inches) in radius and height (respectively), and it weights 3.3 kg (7.3 pounds). It is equipped with a main brush and two auxiliary brushes, and its washable HEPA 10 filter is easily accessible since the dust pan is accessed from the top. As in other vacuuming robots, its dust bin storage ranges isn’t large and it varies from 0.4 to 0.8 liters. Robot’s lithium polymer battery needs 3 hours to charge, and it provides 70 minutes or approximately 122 square meters (over 1,300 square feet) of vacuuming.
The robotic vacuum cleaner has Dual Eye Camera with one lens on the top and one on the bottom of it in order to gather more comprehensive visual data. The upper camera is also tasked with simultaneously mapping and remembering floor plans, while the lower camera is equipped with an Optical Flow Sensor that captures a myriad of surface images per second, providing distance information and plotting paths for the Hom-Bot to follow.
It has 5 ultrasonic sensors which are used to identify obstacles and prevent the redundant bump-and-retreat action. Failsafe systems are built in, so if the robot does run into an obstacle, the accelerometer and gyro sensor allow the cleaner to react accordingly. Hom-Bot has 3 infrared sensors at its bottom which help it detect obstacles on the floor and prevent falling from stairs or other leveled surfaces.
The Hom-Bot is relatively quiet, with noise levels at the low range for new generations of vacuum cleaners which is around 60dB. It is a bit disappointing since the Korean version of the robot was only 50dB loud (which can be compared to refrigerator sound).
It has 2 automatic and 2 manual cleaning modes in order to adapt to circumstances of various room sizes and layouts. Automatic modes are zig-zag mode (suitable for rooms with few obstacles) and area by area mode (for rooms with many obstacles). In area by area mode you can define areas of 3 x 3 meters (10 x 10 feet) as separate zones. Once a zone is cleaned, the robot goes to clean the next. Manual modes are spiral mode (good for localized cleanups) and joystick mode. In spiral mode, the robot is placed in the desired area where it cleans a circle of 1 meter (3.3 feet) in diameter while moving in spiral.
In joystick mode, you can drive a Hom-Bot by its remote controller, a smarpthone or a table with a suitable app. You can its top video camera to monitor your abode while you’re away, or use Wi-Fi networking to make it start cleaning if you suddenly decide to bring guests home.
It goes to its docking station either if you order it stop cleaning (you can delay the cleaning up to 12 hours), if it finished cleaning, or simply because the battery is running low. Once the robot is fully charged, it continues cleaning from where it left off.
Hom-Bot Smart Vacuum Cleaning Robot was recognized as a finalist at the 7th Annual Invention and Entrepreneurship Award in Robotics and Automation (IERA). In addition to its technological achievement, Hom-Bot was named a winner of a red dot design award as well.
However, I should point at a few downsides. The robot isn’t suitable for carpets or rugs. You have to plan when to use its addons for mopping and microfiber, because it makes it impossible to climb onto carpets it is designed for (less than 1 cm or 0.4 inches in height). As you might have guessed from a sentence in article beginning, another downside is Hom-Bot’s price which is around 500 Euros ($700) – a price higher than new iRobot Roomba’s Professional Series Vacuum Cleaning Robots.