In a year full of game-changers and new product categories, Dyson has introduced yet another audacious new product to the market: its ultra-smart robot vacuum, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav. It enters an increasingly saturated robot vacuum market, but stands out by being smarter than most products in the category, with nifty features such as as side actuator for notoriously difficult-to-clean corners. It is also a central feature of The Future of Clean vision that Dyson has set out.
Engineered with unique Dyson Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) technology, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav has a 360-degree vision system which knows where it has been, sees where to clean, and is intelligent enough to respond to dust sensed in the home and create dust maps of your home – providing a data-centric, empirical measure of a deep clean. It also has a suction power six times more than the average robot vacuum, thanks to its Hyperdymium motor, which spins at up to 110,000rpm.
Mapping technology is not unique to the Dyson 360 Vis Nav; a few other smart robot vacuums utilise sensors in a similar manner. Other brands have also formulated different solutions to corner-cleaning. So what exactly makes the Vis Nav special? Quite a few things, according to James Carswell, Dyson’s Senior Design Manager for Robots to find out.
Dedicated to solving problems, he works on Robot primarily, coordinating with head of the category and the design managers with all ongoing Robot projects. His job involves a variety of connected devices, which ranges from testing Robots software, hardware, and application to understanding data privacy. James is a fan of Isambard Brunel, who led the way for modern industry and transportation, and a Dyson design icon.
AM: There was one time when using the Vis Nav that one of my rooms was indicated as completely dusty on the app, while another room appeared to be completely clean. When the sensors detect that an area is dusty, what’s the benchmark?
The acoustic Piezo sensor in the Dyson 360 Vis Nav measures dust levels 15,000 times a second to detect microscopic particles that are invisible to the naked eye, automatically increasing suction power when high levels of dust is detected. It can detect particles as small as 10 microns which is the size of common household allergens and dust mite faeces (for context, the size of a single strand of human hair is about 70 microns).
This data is reflected in the MyDyson app as a deep clean report that reflects dust levels around the home on a colour scale, with purple indicating low dust levels while white indicates high levels of dust.
There are many factors that affect dust levels in the home. Carpets and rugs have a porous surface meaning that it can easily trap dust and dirt while its fibres also hold onto dirt and dust particles, making them difficult to remove. This is why carpets and rugs tend to show higher dust levels as they have more dust particles embedded in them. Areas with high exposure to the outdoors like open windows and doors where dust can be transported indoors from the outdoor environment, too, will see higher levels of dust. As dust is microscopic and lightweight in nature, the slightest agitation can cause it to become airborne before settling onto another surface in the room.
The deep clean report shown in the MyDyson app gives users scientific proof of a deep clean. It also shows users where dust hotspots are in their homes, enabling users to adapt their cleaning routines to clean those spaces more frequently to achieve a cleaner and healthier home.
The robot vacuum market is quite saturated. We’ve seen in other brands features ranging from dirt transfer/self-emptying at docking stations to pet-specific features. How does the Vis Nav stand out?
Emptying stations use bags which need to be replaced. These can also be bad for the environment and add maintenance costs. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ robot vacuum has zero maintenance costs over its lifetime. Emptying stations can also release dust back into shoppers’ homes, are big and bulky and can limit dock placement options. Instead of using a quick and flawed solution, the MyDyson app will tell owns when the robot’s bin is full, and they can empty it when needed. The one-touch ejection mechanism drives dust and debris deep into the bin in one action, ensuring hygienic and easy bin emptying.
We wanted to produce a robot vacuum that navigates and has powerful pickup around the entire home where owners can customise how and when the robot cleans. We believe that a good robot is equipped with, firstly, powerful suction. Robot vacuums should first and foremost be a highly effective vacuum cleaner that can remove dirt – so ensuring that our robot had powerful suction was important for us.
Secondly, good pick-up performance across different floor types. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav is equipped with Dyson’s first triple action brush bar that combines three ways to clean – anti-static carbon fibre filaments for hard floors, stiff bristles for carpets, and soft-woven nylon for large debris.
Thirdly, effective edge-cleaning. Unlike many competitor robots that use side sweepers that flick dirt away, Dyson sucks it up. Sensors on the Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ detect the edges of a room. An extending side duct automatically redirects suction, powerful enough to capture dust and debris right up to the wall. The robot’s D-shaped body and full-width front-mounted brush bar helps it to reach into corners and clean to the edge.
And finally, Intelligent navigation. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ has a 360° vision system which remembers where it’s been and sees where to clean. 26 sensors ensure the robot knows its way, follows walls and avoids obstacles. The 26 sensors and unique Dyson SLAM technology help the robot map and learn different rooms in a home. The high-level processor thinks using the data from the 26 sensors to pinpoint its position within 71mm.
Connecting the Dyson 360 Vis Nav to the MyDyson app ensures users get the most out of the machine. It will enable users to map their homes and create zones to control where and how the robot cleans, get software updates for the robot, review where the robot has cleaned via deep clean reports, and access help and support should the robot encounter a problem.
What would current users of Dyson – who have never used the Vis Nav – find familiar in this? Where does the Dyson branding/philosophy come in here?
The Dyson 360 Vis Nav is not Dyson’s first foray into robot vacuums. We started designing a robot vacuum cleaner in 1998, and after three years of research and development, the DC06 was created. It was a robotic vacuum that could guide itself around a room and clean properly. It had 54 battery cells, 70 sensors and three processors however, due to the size of the machine it was decided that it wasn’t ready to release into the market.
At Dyson, we never rest. And since then, we’ve built a team and continued to innovate and develop our robotics to develop a machine which solves the problems that others ignore. Taking learnings from our 30 years of experience developing our Floorcare technologies and 20 years studying real dust, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ is equipped with Dyson’s core, pioneering technologies.
It’s powered by a Dyson Hyperdymium motor, a powerful, lightweight digital motor that spins at up to 110,000rpm to deliver Dyson suction power – in a robot. There’s Dyson’s Root Cyclone technology, which creates forces of 100,000g to capture dust from the airflow, so there’s no loss of suction. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav has a fully sealed HEPA filtration system that traps dust and seals in 99.99% of particles as microscopically small as 0.1 microns. Finally, its Piezo sensor monitors dust levels 15,000 times a second to detect microscopic particles that are invisible to the eye, automatically increasing suction power where needed. This is the same acoustic dust sending technology in our cordless vacuums including the Dyson V12 Detect Slim or the Dyson Gen5detect.
As with all Dyson technologies, the goal is always to solve problems current market offerings do not. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ is the most powerful robot with six times the suction of any other. Unlike many competitor robots that use side sweepers that flick dirt away, Dyson sucks it up. Sensors on the Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ detect the edges of a room. An extending side duct automatically redirects suction, powerful enough to capture dust and debris right up to the wall. The robot’s D-shaped body and full-width front-mounted brush bar helps it to reach into corners and clean to the edge.
All Dyson vacuums are rigorously tested using both mechanical rigs and in real homes. We drop, bash, and use the machines to breaking point and put them under extreme working conditions to ensure they work effectively in real home environments. Our key performance tests include pick-up, filtration, no loss of suction, navigation, coverage, localisation, mapping, return to dock, run time, charge time and sound. We test in accordance with international standards and formal, rigorous test methods developed by Dyson engineers.
What other features are you hoping to add in future versions? Any plans to combine the submarine with the robot vacuum?
Current mopping robots available on the market lack the suction power needed to properly clean floors before mopping (most generate only 1–2 Air Watts. Dyson’s robot delivers 65 Air Watts). They also lose suction power as they clean. So when they mop, they end up smearing dust, dirt and bacteria around shoppers’ floors.
The Dyson 360 Vis Nav™ has 6 times the suction power of any other robot, and its brush bar has carbon fibre filaments to remove fine dust from hard floors, so it cleans well without a mop. It also has 99.99% filtration to 0.1 microns, helping keep shoppers’ homes cleaner and more hygienic.
Our engineers and scientists are hard at work on a pipeline of new technology stretching 25 years into the future. We do not comment or speculate on what they’re working on until we’re ready to launch but if we do, you’ll be the first to hear!