A connected spot cleaning robot for unexpected messes on any floor type
As part of my internship at iRobot over the summer of 2017, I worked on an independent project in addition to my daily support for the ID/UX team.
I was asked to design a new robot that would fit iRobot's brand identity, to empower people to do more. I sketched out a number of concepts before choosing a focus, conducted internal research on consumer needs, studied mechanisms, met with engineering advisors to ensure a feasible design, visualized an updated app UX for iRobot, and created a model of the final product, a spot cleaning robot named Ella.
After a number of concept explorations, I built off of the idea of a pet spot cleaner and decided to design a general spot cleaner for unexpected messes on all floor types in the home.
- Participant demographics: most live in apartments or multi-story homes, even age distribution anywhere from 18-50+, avg. 2-4 household members, 50% have pets, 70% don't have kids under 10 but those who do have avg. 1-2 kids
- Home & cleaning information: avg. homes have majority wood floors with half as much carpet and some tile, most people share cleaning responsibilities, most common spills/stains include colored drinks/food and dirt/mud/grass, most accidents occur on wood floor with tile, carpet, and countertops as close seconds
- Spot cleaning: most people clean up accidents right away (only about half use methods specific for the type of spill), 95% care if it leaves a stain but people only rate their confidence of cleaning it correctly at 3.6/10
- Spills occur on all types of surfaces, particularly wood, carpet, and tile.
- People care if accidents leave stains, but they are not very confident in their ability to treat them correctly.
- A robot would be trusted to take care of spills (and appreciated) if the experience was less of a hassle than just cleaning by hand and didn't create a bigger mess.
Pros: lift up stains from deep down rather than just treating surface, powerful, effective clean
Cons: bulky machine, noisy, requires physical labor
Watch this video for a few seconds to see how powerful a combination of scrubbing and suction can be.
Through sketching, I began to define the robot's components, functions, look, and user experience.
Meetings with Advisors
Before going too far, I met with two engineers to ensure my idea was feasible and to understand the technical side to inform my design.
I then made a foam core model to figure out general sizing of the robot body and tanks, touchpoint interactions, and the solution dispensing mechanism.
Now that I understood the engineering behind my design, I worked on refining the details before moving into CAD.
The name Ella came from playing around with the word spill and the theme of secret agent. I wanted the robot's name to sound a little delicate while its performance is unexpectedly powerful.
A big thank you to everybody who helped me throughout this project!