Matic Robot Vacuum Collects Dust but Not Your Personal Data

Are you someone who remains dedicated to using “dumb” devices and appliances out of concerns about keeping your personal data private? It’s a legitimate worry, with technology manufacturers gathering enormous amounts of data about our lives through the ever growing myriad of smart home devices seeping into our lives (not to mention your most data leaky source, your phone). Which makes it a bit ironic the Matic was developed by two former Google engineers, a company whose entire business model is built around data collection. Matic sets out to be a robot vacuum designed to hoover up dust and suck up spills, all without sucking up any personal data in the process.

The autonomous robot vacuum created by ex-Googlers Mehul Nariyawala and Navneet Dalal operates notably different from Roomba or similarly equipped robot vacuums that rely upon lidar, ultrasonic, and bumper sensors to map and navigate furniture, avoid common household objects, and recognize occupants of the two- or four-footed variety.

Matic is engineered to actually “see” the world more like us, relying upon five RGB optical cameras, visual simultaneous localization and mapping, and AI neural networks to steer clear of obstructions while learning the layout of your home… all without ever uploading the data to the cloud. Like Sin City’s motto, what happens in your home, stays in your home when Matic is tasked to clean the floors.

Matic autonomous vacuum navigating underneath dining room table and chairs with mid-century decor.

Matic’s array of 5 RGB cameras can see the physical objects and actively avoid them rather than rely upon bump-and-rotate adjustments other robot vacuums rely upon.

Matic’s developers say the visually-based navigation system results in improved avoidance of obstacles. Instead of the inefficient bump-and-spin maneuvering typical of robot vacs, the Matic steers around objects proactively. Paired with larger wheels, the robot is more capable of traversing floors, rugs, and high pile carpets without concerns of becoming stuck, and it’s also equipped for wet/dry cleaning.

Matic’s design is also much more Mars Rover in shape than the typical standard cylindrical robot form factor we’re accustomed to. The designers used that extra size to include a built-in, one-liter capacity HEPA bag bin and 600ml water tank (requiring a little effort on your end to manually empty the bins, rated for about a week’s worth of cleaning).

Matic robot vacuum with lid open revealing its liquid cleaning canister and dry HEPA bag bin.

Even stalwart robot vacuum boosters will admit their beloved cleaning devices can be disruptively loud while making the rounds. Cleaning times are traditionally best scheduled when occupants are away. Matic claims to be the “quietest floor cleaning robot on the market.” To be honest, that’s a low bar, but Matic operates at just 61dB, significantly quieter than other robotic vacuums that do the rounds at 65dB or more (a manual upright vacuums creates up to 80dB of noise for comparison). While mopping, Matic hushes down to 52dB, a noise level comparable to a quiet refrigerator or moderate rainfall.

Man on yoga mat meditating staring out a large window while a robot vacuum roves behind him.

The Matic is being advertised as so quiet, one can have it clean during meditation sessions. Visually, the Matic may look larger than a low-profile disc vac, but we imagine a quieter vacuum is a less conspicuous presence in everyday use.

We’re hoping to compare Matic’s efficacy and surface adaptive roll in the near future, especially in comparison to our tried and true combination of a traditional canister vacuum complemented by a robot vacuum to clean dustballs in between dedicated cleaning sessions. Whether homeowners are apt to trade for Matic’s slew of improvements at the expense of accommodation for the uniquely shaped cleaning rover within their home is yet to be seen.

Person pointing at spilled tomato soup for their robotic vacuum to mop up.

Voice command allows you to task your robotic cleaning device with a “Hey Matic, clean this!” by actually pointing toward the mess you made.

The Matic robot floor cleaning vacuum is launching at an introductory price of $1,495 and includes a year of Matic membership providing replacement bags and brush and mop rolls.

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.

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