Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, built into its Amazon Echo products and numerous home helpers and third party speakers, can do everything from control your home lighting to your Spotify playlists. Now, it can add another arrow to its quiver – cleaning.
Well, at least indirectly. Connected robot vacuum cleaners by iRobot, such as the iRobot Roomba 980, will soon be able to take Alexa voice commands to trigger a cleaning cycle.
Simply say "Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning", and the dust-munching R2-D2s will start digging into your carpets.
Roomba roll out
It's not a huge amount of control being offered – other Alexa commands merely let you pause or completely stop a cleaning cycle. But it's a step closer to the completely connected home dream.
iRobot is also taking a page out of Dyson's book, offering Roomba owners a map of the areas that their droid has cleaned up over the last 10 cycles. The update to the iRobot HOME App will be rolling out to Android and iOS users immediately.
As for the Alexa commands, they're going to be (as you'd expect) exclusive to iRobot's web connected models, like the 900 Series. A bit more frustrating though is that the Alexa integration will, for the time being at least, be a US-only feature. Expect to see that update coming in the second quarter of 2017.