The first function was realized by detecting dust that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The second function drastically reduces the time it takes to clean a room. The third function not only saves time, as in the case of the second function, by limiting the number of areas to be cleaned but also eliminates the need to use additional devices to prevent the robot cleaner from entering some areas such as the "virtual wall" of the Roomba.
However, the third function cannot be used at the time of creating the first map. Also, when the location of the charger, etc are changed, the existing map can no longer be used.
There have already been some robot cleaners equipped with the vSLAM such as iRobot Corp's "Roomba 980" and Dyson Ltd's "Dyson 360 Eye." However, maps created by them can be used only for finding cleaned areas and areas where there is a large amount of dust.
2cm-diameter chair leg can be detected with laser sensor
The newly-employed laser sensor is embedded in the lowest part of the front side of the Rulo and detects obstacles located at a height up to several centimeters above the floor surface. In a demonstration performed by Panasonic, an infrared camera was used to show that a thin-band-like laser light was directed at a low part of a wall.
"We employed the laser sensor to detect small obstacles that cannot be detected by the previous product, which has only an ultrasonic sensor and so forth," the company said.
As a result, it becomes possible to detect obstacles with a width of 2cm.