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How Roborock made its smartest robot mop and vacuum yet

Roborock has rapidly become one of our favourite robot vacuum cleaner brands, with some of the best navigation and performance across its range. At CES 2021, the company launched its smartest mop and vacuum cleaner yet, the Roborock S7, so we sat down with the company to get a bit more information on the product and to find out what’s in store for it in the future.

Key to the development of the S7 was redefining how the mopping system worked to give better results.

“Looking into what our customers say about us, mopping is a really important feature and they like to mop and vacuum at the same time, ” says Andy Knight, global head of brand at Roborock. “People say that [robot mops] aren’t super effective.”

That’s true: the current mopping system on the Roborock S5 Max and S6 MaxV, uses a pump to push water over a microfibre cloth, which cleans by pressing down on the cloth and wiping as the cleaner moves. It can give good results on general everyday stains, but doesn’t work well on tougher stains that need agitation.

Related: Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner

To solves this, Roborock turned to a rather different product.

“We took inspiration from the electric toothbrush,” explains Knight. “We looked at a way to apply that technology at speeds that would make a difference.”

The result is the VibraRise technology that powers the S7, with sonic vibration agitating dirt as the robot moves to pick up tougher stains. To get the right speed and performance, Roborock had to focus on the size and placement of the sonic cleaning area.

“On the S7, vibration is in one small panel, as that was the way to get the speeds needed,” says Knight.

As a result, Roborock tells us that the S7 has roughly double the pressure compared to previous mops.

Better maps and smarter navigation

One of the things that makes Roborock stand out from the competition is the quality of its navigation and app. They’re improving all of the time, but with the S7, some new capabilities have been added.

One of the biggest frustrations with using a robot vacuum cleaner is having to tidy up first or create no-go and no-mop areas within your home.

With the S7, there’s a new ultrasonic sensor which is used to detect carpet. Once the robot works out it’s on a carpet, it lifts the mop and dry vacuums the area.

“We’re first in the market to combine lifting with sonic mopping,” says Knight.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t have areas that you don’t want the vacuum to go, such as deep pile rugs. Here, the ultrasonic sensor has a secondary part to play.

“Because you’ve got the ultrasonic sensor, you can see exactly where the carpet is and drop a no-mop zone,” says Knight.

Related: Best Vacuum Cleaners

With the new sensor, carpets and rugs appear in the app as a lined pattern on the map, so you can more easily drop down no-go or no-mop zones. With the old app, you’d have to experiment with placing your zones, which is easier if you’re dealing with entire rooms, but harder to get right when you only have rugs to deal with.

To improve cleaning performance, the S7 also has a deep cleaning mode which increases mopping intensity to maximum, covers each area twice and dials vacuuming down so that the robot doesn’t pick up water.

What of the other inconvenience: having to empty the bin? Well, later in the year, Roborock will release an automatic emptying system for the S7 as an optional accessory. To my mind, that’s a good way of doing things, as you can add the accessory if you have room for it, or stick with the standard charging dock if you don’t.

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