Roomba launched its s7+ in 2018 which came with a new technology of memorizing the house. You can put the instructions on it or speak them out or use Google assistance or Alexa to order it to clean a room, and it can leave and clean the room you specified it to, and then clean itself. 

The previous version, the 900 series, had the same feature too, however, it was not as efficient as this one. The ones from the 900 series could map the house, clean the house as desired, and then it would lose the memory of the house for the next time. 

It did not have a long-term memory. It took some time to map the house every time it had to be cleaned. However, this newer version has a long-term memory and can retain the layout of the house and use it to clean the house which saves time and is more efficient. 

Does Roomba Memorize Your House?

The Technology

What the Roomba uses is not a GPS to navigate the room; a GPS would fail to provide the direction inside the house. Instead, what it uses is something much simpler. The imaging sensor looks for some pixels which form a unique pattern. It understands the different contours of light and dark. The vice president of technology of iRobot, Chris Jones, has explained this in detail, saying that the patterns might look like constellations that the robot can identify. 

The data about various landmarks are also stored inside the robot’s cloud which it can later use to clean. When the robot sees the constellations, it will immediately go to that place and clean it. There are other types of technology that are in use. One is by Roomba’s competitor, Neoto, however, it is not as efficient and convenient as Roomba. 

It uses a laser mapping system, but it cannot travel to a specific room at any given time to clean it. Another technology that is in use is the most common one which is the collection of collision, wheel, brush, and cliff sensors. They tell the robot when they are about to hit an object which allows them to change their direction of movement. 

However, this type of technology often causes these vacuum robots to bump into things or fall down the stairs since they are not able to detect them. Only after falling down does it understand that it has had a bump! The advantage of this technology, however, is that these are budget-friendly and can be bought for around $250. The technology used by Roomba is appropriate for a vacuum since, as mentioned above, GPS wouldn’t work, and other technology which is used in advanced robotics, such as self-driving cars, would be too much. 

The name given for the technology used by iRobot is visual simultaneous localization and mapping (vSLAM). In addition, it can also use its wheels to understand how much it has traveled and track floors to keep a track of the places in the house. 

The Final Result

The technology discussed above can lead the Roomba to remember the environment accurately. The user can put labels on the various rooms on Roomba, and later it can use that information to clean the house. The company states that the Roomba can remember up to 10-floor plans, which means that if it is taken to a new place, it will remember the mapping of that place too. 

A Threat?

When you start using Roomba, a list of conditions related to privacy appears, and you select ‘Accept’ without bothering to read about what it says. The Roomba can share the mapping of your house with Google or Apple. It is quite possible that if the mapping is shared marketers will use this information to increase their sales. 

Let’s say your fridge broke, the next day your social media will start showing advertisements of fridges for you to buy, even if you haven’t even started looking for one yet. When this news became public, there was a series of backlash since the user's privacy was being put into question. 

Even though the company claims that it asks for the user’s permission before taking the information, the fact is that no one reads the terms and conditions before using the machine. Even though the user’s consent is taken, what if the house is sold and the new buyers do not want their house’s mapping to be used by marketers? How long does the information stay with the company? Does it ever stop sharing? 

‘Informed consent is a very vague term that cannot be applied here and many other technological devices. It actually sounds a little creepy that everyone at the company knows what your household looks like, what furniture you have, and how many kids you have. 

However, there are certain advantages to mapping too. If a house gets caught up in a fire, can the mapping of the Roomba help understand how it started? Can it help identify a robber in case of a robbery? Can it help identify the perpetrators in case of a crime? Moreover, the company has promised not to share information with any third party, and that the user can choose to use the Roomba without connecting it with the internet, which means that it does not share the mapping. In addition, the user can choose to cancel sharing the mapping at any time they want. 


The Roomba is an advanced technology that provides the user with the ease of having the house cleaned without doing much effort. It can store the layout of your house and it can be used to clean a specific part of the house anytime you want. 

There is this disadvantage, or more like fear, that what if this information is being seen by the company? Or worse, if it ever gets leaked and shared with a third party. How much can you trust a company with your personal information? Apart from all this, the Roomba is an excellent vacuum robot that can clean your entire house in minutes.