iRobot has been granted a patent for an evacuation station that collects debris from a cleaning robot. The station includes an intake, a canister with a receptacle, an air mover, a sensor to measure air pressure, and a controller. The station initiates an evacuation operation to draw debris from the robot, ceases the operation when the pressure is within a certain range, and can detect and unclog obstructions. GlobalData’s report on iRobot gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on iRobot, cleaning robots was a key innovation area identified from patents. iRobot's grant share as of September 2023 was 68%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Evacuation station for collecting debris from a cleaning robot

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: iRobot Corp

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11771288B2) describes an evacuation station designed to collect debris from a cleaning robot. The evacuation station includes an intake that interfaces with the cleaning robot, a canister with a receptacle in pneumatic communication with the intake, and a cover to cover the interior of the station.

The evacuation station also features an air mover that draws air from the canister during an evacuation operation. A sensor is included to measure the air pressure in the canister, and a controller is responsible for initiating and controlling the evacuation operation.

The controller is programmed to detect the presence of a clog or obstruction within the evacuation station based on the measured air pressure. If a clog is detected, the controller generates a control signal to the air mover to adjust the power level and perform a clog dislodgment operation. This operation involves drawing air from the canister for a specific duration to unclog the station. The controller can also provide information about the detected clog state to a user or a process.

Additionally, the controller is capable of detecting the fullness state of the receptacle based on the measured pressure value and other factors such as the duration of the evacuation operation or the total number of evacuation attempts. If the receptacle is determined to be full, the controller can generate a control signal to terminate the evacuation operation and provide a notification to the user to replace or clean the receptacle.

The patent also mentions the use of an indicator device to notify the user about the detected clog state, the number of evacuation attempts, or information about the clog dislodgment operation.

Overall, this patent describes an evacuation station with advanced features for detecting and addressing clogs or obstructions within the station, as well as monitoring the fullness of the receptacle. These features aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the cleaning robot's debris collection process.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.