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Dyson 360 Eye, company's first robotic vacuum, launched in Japan today

Dyson launched its first ever robotic vacuum cleaner, the Dyson 360 Eye, in Japan today.
Dyson launched its first ever robotic vacuum cleaner, the Dyson 360 Eye, in Japan today.
Dyson

After 16 years of research and development, Dyson launched the Dyson 360 Eye, its first ever robotic vacuum, today in Japan, where it will hit the market in the spring of 2015.

For its 360 Eye vacuum, slated for U.S. release in the fall of 2015, Dyson uses its patented Radial Root Cyclone technology and the same Dyson digital motor at the heart of the company's cordless vacuums, such as the Dyson DC59 Motorhead.

One way the Dyson 360 Eye differentiates itself from competing products is with its 360 degree vision system, which it uses to build a detailed map of its surroundings so it can more smoothly navigate the territory.

According to company founder James Dyson, other robotic vacuums simply feel their way around a room. He adds, “Most robotic vacuum cleaners don’t see their environment, have little suction, and don’t clean properly. They are gimmicks. We’ve been developing a unique 360 degree vision system that lets our robot see where it is, where it has been, and where it is yet to clean. Vision, combined with our high speed digital motor and cyclone technology, is the key to achieving a high performing robot vacuum – a genuine labor saving device.”

Instead of wheels, the Dyson 360 Eye uses tank tracks, which the company claims will improve traction and movement across all types of surfaces. Its brush bar extends the full width of the vacuum for cleaning around edges, and its patented carbon fiber brush bar cleans carpets as well as hard floors.

The new vacuum's Radial Root Cyclone technology picks up particles as small as .5 microns - much smaller than the human eye can see. With its unique vision feature and high-powered suction, Dyson hopes to tackle the market for robotic vacuums which iRobot Roomba has long dominated in the U.S.

The Dyson 360 Eye's ability to pick up tiny particles may appeal to those with allergies, and other customers may appreciate the vacuum's app for Android and iOS. The smartphone and tablet app will allow users to set up custom vacuuming schedules and even control the vacuum from anywhere, whether from the office, the mall or a vacation spot.

Weighing 5.22 pounds, the Dyson 360 Eye holds a little more than a cup and a half of dirt and runs for 20 to 30 minutes on a single charge. When its battery runs low, it redocks itself to charge. The company spent nearly $47 million developing the Dyson 360 Eye, on top of the $250 million spent on bringing about the Dyson Digital Motor. Creating the Dyson 360 Eye's navigation system alone took 31 robotic software engineers over 100,000 hours of work time.