iRobot Roomba

Vacuum Cleaning Robot

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    David Ga
    Automatic Dust Bin Emptying
    Entry posted May 2, 2014 by David GaNewbie 
    1234 Views, 2 Comments
    Automatic Dust Bin Emptying

    I'd like to suggest a method for automatically emptying the dust bin that is less expensive and more flexible than the method used by other robot vacuums such as Samsung's Navibot S model SR8980 and Karcher's RC 3000.  These robot vacuums use a stationary vacuum built into the charging station to vacuum out the robot's dust bin.  My suggestion is to let the customer provide their own stationary vacuum.  iRobot would just provide a modified charging station that the customer's vacuum would attach to.

    The suction of the customer's vacuum in combination with running the robot's brush and suction motors in reverse would empty the dust bin.  This method gives customers the flexibility to use a stationary vacuum that has the features that best meet their needs.  For example, customers could chose a stationary vacuum with a particular size dust bin depending on how often they want to empty it and how much space they are willing to provide.  Also, customers could use a central vacuum system which has an enormous dust bin and has this dust bin outside the living area.

    The robot vacuums mentioned above cost $1300 (Samsung) and $1400 (Karcher).  A canister vacuum with a 9 gallon dust bin is $60 at (model number 6810089).  A HEPA filter for this vacuum is an additional $30 (model number 6476097).  My suggestion would let iRobot provide a lower cost and more flexible solution and one that has the option to work with a central vacuum system.

    I suggest the following changes to iRobot's charging station and robot vacuum:

    1. Add a ramp to the charging station.  This ramp would provide space under the robot for debris to exit the robot and go into the stationary vacuum.  The ramp would be covered with flexible foam or rubber to provide a tight seal between the robot's intake opening and the ramp when the stationary vacuum is turned on.

    2. Add an AC plug to the charging station that the customer's stationary vacuum would use.  Power to this plug would be controlled by a relay to turn on and off the customer's stationary vacuum.  With central vacuum systems, the on/off signal in the hose would be controlled by the charging station.

    3. Provide optional accessories to connect a few different central vacuum systems (Imperium, Vacuflo, VacuMaid) to the charging station.  These optional accessories would include a short hose about 1 foot long.

    4. For canister vacuums, provide a funnel-shaped piece of rubber with a gentle slope to accommodate differences in the outer diameter at the end of the hose of different vacuums.  This rubber funnel should accommodate hose ends with an outer diameter of 1.125" to 1.75".

    5. The robot should only turn on its brush and suction motors in reverse after there is an indication of suction from the stationary vacuum.  One way to detect suction would be with a capacitive sensor on the robot to measure the distance between the bottom of the robot and the ramp.  When the stationary vacuum is providing suction, this distance would be reduced.

    iRobot Corporation is, of course, free to use the suggestions above in any way they want with no compensation to me.

    Keywords (optional):
    central vacuum, dust bin, automatic emptying, running motors in reverse, optional accessories