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iRobot’s latest update teaches your Roomba to dodge the Christmas tree

iRobot is rolling out an update to ensure your Roomba doesn’t wreak havoc around your home this Christmas. 

The robot vacuum cleaner maker is bringing three new features to it’s new Roomba j7 and j7+ vacuums this winter, including one that builds upon it’s pet poo feature and another that ensures it doesn’t knock over your Christmas tree in a hurry to suck up any fallen pine needles. 

First up is the new Christmas Tree Zone Detection feature, which utilises iRobot’s Genius home intelligence to prevent your Roomba from bumping into your tree. It does this by automatically suggesting a Clean Zone around the perimeter of the tree so the vacuum knows where to pick up debris, while creating a Keep Out Zone in the centre so it knows where to avoid straying. 

The update also introduces a new Shoes and Socks Hazard Avoidance feature, which, as the name suggests, prevents the j7 and j7+ from bumping into or vacuuming up any shoes or socks when cleaning. 

This update follows on from iRobot’s pet waste feature, announced earlier this year alongside the j7+. The pet waste feature uses the PrecisionVision Navigation available thanks to iRobot Genius 3.0 to identify and dodge a number of objects, including cords and pet poo. 

iRobot even launched a Pet Owner Official Promise – or, P.O.O.P – alongside the feature, stating that it will replace any j7+ that fails to avoid ploughing through solid pet waste. 

At the time, iRobot claimed that PrecisionVision Navigation would get smarter over time to “unlock new cleaning experiences”, and it seems socks and shoes are next in line. 

Finally, there’s Map Copy – a feature aimed at anyone upgrading their robot vacuum this Black Friday or expecting one under the tree this Christmas. 

The feature allows users to transfer existing Smart Maps from one robot to another, including the Braava jet m6 robot mop.

According to iRobot’s software release notes, Christmas Tree Zone Detection began rolling out for the Roomba j7 on November 29, while Map Copy hit iRobot vacuums and mops in October.

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