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Roomba update adds Christmas trees, footwear to avoidable obstacles

iRobot, the robot vacuum maker, is releasing an update designed to help keep pine needles off the floor without ruining Christmas by destroying the tree or devouring your reindeer slippers.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

iRobot's latest update to its j7 and j7+ lines are designed to make the company's robot vacuum a bit more intelligent around the family Christmas tree and errant footwear.

The recently-released firmware patch integrates with the company's iRobot Genius platform, iRobot Home App, and compatible hardware to allow users to set specific "Clean Zones" to help their Roomba vacuum up fallen pine needles without toppling any holiday decorations.

This type of intelligent avoidance is now available for both shoes and socks as well; with iRobot having added them to the list, this series of Roombas can automatically detect and avoid. Discarded sneakers and mid-calf crews now join other potential hazards like cords and solid pet waste that can also automatically be detected and avoided. iRobot promises to continue expanding this list of recognized hazards with future over-the-air updates to the machine learning and artificial intelligence technology that makes dynamically spotting threats possible. 

Users receiving a second or third robot floor cleaner this holiday season will likely be happy to hear that the company now allows users to transfer their Imprint Smart Maps from one supported model to another. These maps are the guides every supported Roomba and Braava use to navigate their owner's floors. This transferability is supported by the Roomba j7, Roomba i7, and Roomba S9 lines, as well as the Braava jet m6 robot mop.

iRobot compared the new portability of Imprint Smart Maps to transferring your data to a new smartphone upon activation. The company likely hopes this ease-of-use update to its line with enticing more users to take advantage of the various Roomba/Braava bundles it is offering during the holiday season. 

The update is available now for all supported models.

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