Roomba, the robotic vacuum, is gaining an indoor Wi-Fi mapping feature in its iRobot app later this month. The Wi-Fi Coverage map feature means Wi-Fi-enabled Roombas will be able to produce a map of indoor signals, which show weaker areas and signal dead zones. Some Roomba models can be controlled remotely using Wi-Fi, so the feature is handy in terms of understanding where the robot might be out of range for remote control.
iRobot says when users start a cleaning job, the Roomba will collect Wi-Fi signal information as it goes and produce a map. Users will be able to swap between the signal map and the app’s Clean Map feature, which displays where the robot has already cleaned. The Wi-Fi map should be useful for people to figure out if a room might have a spotty connection, and if they ought to reposition their router, or get a new one or a range extender.
The feature is opt-in and will be available through a beta program within the app in the US starting mid January. iRobot says the beta program will have limited availability and not all users who request access will be accepted. “The iRobot Beta program offers our users a chance to experience and shape potential next-generation features that are in development, including Wi-Fi coverage mapping,” Gary Hall, senior director of digital product management at iRobot said in a statement. The Wi-Fi map feature will only be available to Roomba 900 series users because of that model’s mapping capabilities.