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Control a Housework Robot from Your Wrist

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Sit by the pool and tell a smart vacuum how to clean your house

With a small rolling robot that’s controlled from your wrist, recently released smartwatch applications for the Neato Botvac Connected could mark a new era in chores.

The connected vacuum makes home cleaning more convenient by helping to automate and smarten up our routines. Companies create robots that make our lives easier by doing things like taking care of monotonous chores like vacuuming. For instance, iRobot too recently unveiled a smart Roomba for your home that allows you to monitor the unit on your mobile device.

The dream is to sit poolside and get notifications about the status of your robot right on your wrist. Screenshots of the application reveal the features of the app:

The watch face features a screen that identifies which unit users are paired with so you can monitor the robots, prompts with start and stop buttons, and push notifications and alerts to start or stop cleaning, and notifications on its status whether you are home or not.

While the application can run on either Apple Watch or Android Wear devices, designing for the small screen presents interesting challenges and new opportunities for interfacing with devices — a phenomenon we explored during PSFK’s Watch Week.

Not all aspects of the implementation are perfect, however. Based on limited feedback in the app store, users of the software find it difficult to use. For example, reviewers write that this iteration of the app is the bare minimum and buggy. They face usage problems and connectivity issues. Some improvements the users are requesting are the ability to ‘see’ the robot’s intelligence, view a map etc.; The ability to tell it to clean the dining room or the bedroom or specific zones; A setting to manually navigate the robot away from difficult situations if it gets stuck; More choices in spot cleaning sizes and area diameters; A history of the device’s total run time and route it followed.

Neato Botvac Connected

Originally published at www.psfk.com on March 9, 2016.