One of Silicon Valley’s million robot companies brought another cool toy to the IFA conference in Berlin this month, and it sees, hears, and speaks as it cleans.
The company is Trifo: They’ve been around for a few years, and they’re tapping into a seriously lucrative market. According to the company, Statista estimates that shipments of home robots will grow to nearly 30 billion units by 2025 and The International Federation of Robotics says the personal household service robots market will reach over $10 billion by 2020.
The new gizmo, announced at the IFA event in Berlin last week, is Max, a delightfully simple brand for a pretty curious, aware, and able robot. Oh yeah, it’s a vacuum cleaner, by the way.
Trifo also launched Ironpie at CES in Las Vegas early this year, a smart robot vacuum that reportedly “cleans faster, protects furniture better, is controllable from anywhere, and with a host of features that improve on the original home vacuum concept.”
Max is the newest member of the clan, though, and he seems pretty cool. The gizmo’s vacuum fan creates about 3,000 Pa of suction (that’s air watts, or a measurement of the effectiveness of vacuum cleaners). More importantly, the thing has a bunch of cameras and it’s really smart.
The real differentiator here between this and that expensive Dyson one you bought at Target is Trifo’s TIRVS (Trifo Intelligent Robotics Vision System), which combines a bunch of the company’s proprietary algorithms with a bunch of scary-sounding “sensing and perception” technology.
It seems like a real breakthrough but it’s pretty basic when you think about it. It’s a little robot vacuum that you can control by voice or remote, knows where it is, calculates the most effective cleaning routes, avoids obstacles and obeys voice commands via Alexa. Pretty cool.
Here’s the thing: Not only are you getting a robot vacuum, it’s also a security device by default. The user can listen remotely and speak to family members, pets, or (this is a weird scenario) intruders through Max’s A.I. interface. Max can also send out alerts to family members about movement, people, unusual sounds, and other instances that might require alerts, as well as triggering automatic video recording by internal security systems. The robot’s internal battery will last up to two hours and it also includes a USB charger in case you need a last-minute phone charge.
“We have designed Max to be the smartest helper around the house; able to pick up flour, baby powder, sand and more; through his advanced vision system he maps the most efficient cleaning route,” said Zhe Zhang, Trifo’s founder and CEO in a release. “He can see, hear, and speak while he cleans, making it easy for his family to manage him. Max’s advanced A.I.-powered surveillance system includes motion, audio, and person detection to keep his family safe as well as clean.”
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