A beta test will see top-tier Roomba models adding to their duties as they wander around your home. In addition to the cleaning, they will also be mapping the strength of the Wi-Fi signals, looking for dead zones and weak-spots …

CNET reports that you’ll be able to review maps of your Wi-Fi coverage just as you do the cleaning paths.

The upgrade covers iRobot’s top-tier vacuums, the Roomba 960 ($700) and Roomba 980 ($900).

When enhanced, the robots will clean floors normally while searching for spotty networking signals. The robots log any problem areas and merge that data with vacuum coverage maps they ordinarily create. Roomba owners can then use the info to tweak their wireless networks accordingly.

The first stage of the beta-test, starting later this month, will be limited to as few as 1-200 members of the Beta program, but will lead to larger trials involving 10-20% of compatible models.

Back in the summer, Roomba maker iRobot started capturing data on home layouts to sell to companies like smart home brands, to help them better plan their products.

One analyst also thinks Apple could use the mapping data to help surround sound systems match home acoustics, or to help air conditioners schedule airflow by room. Smart lightning could be adjusted based on window placement and time of day.

iRobot may have similar plans for the Wi-Fi data. The company says data is used in this way only with customer permission, so you’ll probably want to read the fine-print in the app to see what you’re agreeing to when the update rolls out.


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