Sharp Corp announced Nov 21, 2012, that it has added a function to remotely control its robot cleaner (the RX-V100 in the Cocorobo series) by using a smartphone.
In addition, by attaching a separately-sold infrared adapter to the cleaner, it becomes possible to remotely control Sharp's home appliances with the cleaner.
This time, Sharp added the "Cocorobo Navi" function, which controls the Cocorobo with a smartphone application from outside the home, to the RX-V100. The service will be launched Dec 13, 2012.
With the function, the Cocorobo cleans a house based on the layout of a house that the user inputs on a smartphone screen even when the user is away from home. Also, the user can give specific orders on routes and places to be cleaned while seeing the layout on the smartphone.
Therefore, it is possible to move the Cocorobo to check the state of a pet with the camera embedded in the cleaner. However, this function requires a wireless LAN environment in the house.
At the same time with the launch of the service, Sharp will release the "Home Appliance Controller (RX-CU1)" infrared remote control, which can be connected to the RX-V100 via a USB port. When the RX-CU1 is attached to the Cocorobo, it is possible to turn on/off home appliances such as TVs, LED lighting apparatuses and air conditioners via the cleaner by using a smartphone.
Though the service supports only appliances manufactured by Sharp at first, the company plans to support other companies' products in the future. The expected price of the Home Appliance Controller is ¥15,750 (approx US$191), it said.
The user inputs a room layout by drawing a picture with the application based on measurement data collected by the user. Icons can be used to input the locations of home appliances, etc.
"A lighting apparatus installed on a ceiling means a different route for the Cocorobo from a route influenced by a TV placed on a floor," Sharp said.
In general, robot cleaners move around to clean all the floor surfaces while automatically drawing a room layout.
"We considered making the Cocorobo use such a function to draw a map," Sharp said. "But the layout of a room often changes depending on, for example, the existence of cushions. So, this time, we decided to let the user to draw a map."