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Dyson’s new AR feature shows where you have (and haven’t) vacuumed

Date 10 Apr, 2024

Writen by Brian Heater

Position Hardware Editor

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If this had been announced exactly a week prior, it would have been easy to mistake for some corporate April Foolery. Dyson, however, assures us that augmented reality vacuuming is real and coming in June — slightly belated for spring cleaning, sadly.

When it launches over the summer, CleanTrace will be available for the Dyson Gen5detect system. The press photos bely the technology a bit, as it will be geared at phones, rather than, say, an Apple Vision Pro or Meta Quest headset. While it seems like that sort of heads-up AR would be possible, one ultimately questions how many people are going to want to vacuum with a computer on their heads.

The system is a bit silly and wildly unnecessary, but that’s sort of the fun of it, no? It’s not going to tip over anyone who’s on the fence about a $700 ultra-premium vacuum, but this is hardly the most ridiculous thing Dyson has shown the world.

The company says the feature was influenced by its own robot vacuum mapping. “We realized that we could all learn a thing or two from the methodical cleaning approach of our robot vacuums,” Dyson VP of engineering Charlie Park notes. “Unlike most humans doing the cleaning, Dyson robots know where they are in the room, where they have been, and where they have yet to go.”

In the demos, the system creates a purple (Dyson’s color) overlay, showing the path the vacuum has taken up to that point. The objective is to turn the entire room that color, to ensure that you’ve hit all the spots, rather than simply relying on your technologically out of date eyeballs.

As someone who vacuums nearly every morning I tend to believe Dyson when it notes, “Our research shows that consumers regularly overestimate the amount of time they clean – data shows that around 80% of cleaning sessions last less than 10 minutes, yet people claim they vacuum for an average of 24 minutes per session.”

What that statement ultimately comes down to is that most people hate vacuuming, because most people hate housework. As such, we tend to dramatically overestimate the amount of time we spend doing it each day. And hey, if CleanTrace can save a little time and make the process more efficient, good on it. Should it ultimately prove popular with users, can vacuum gamification be that far off?

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