How Roborock developed a mop as mighty as the vacuum for the flagship S7

The inside scoop on how Roborock engineers took the mop to the next level

Roborock S7 inside story
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If the name wasn’t already an indication, robot vacuums have always been judged solely by their ability to hoover up the crumbs and hair ensnared in carpet fibers.

Robot vacuums are changing, though - in large part, thanks to Roborock and its line of intelligent devices.

With the flagship Roborock S7 debuting a new mopping system that propels the robot vacuum into another dimension, these devices are no longer just dust-sucking rovers with mopping tacked on.

The S7 takes this mopping functionality and makes it a headline feature. By redesigning how the system operates, it’s able to change how users can prepare their home for cleaning.

Here, we have the inside scoop on how the idea for Sonic Mopping originated, how the engineering team at Roborock tested and developed its VibraRise technology and how it all comes together to create a hassle-free cleaning experience.

How Roborock developed a mop as mighty as the vacuum for the flagship S7

Sonic boom

Not all mops are created equally - particularly when they come as part of a typical robot vacuum’s arsenal of capabilities.

Until now, the market has featured elaborate equivalents to a wet wipe, and, as anybody who has tried to do it can attest, setting up cleans involving mopping can often be as extensive as the manual chore itself.

With Sonic Mopping, the engineers at Roborock wanted to create something that solved the long-standing problems with the function.

Sonic Mopping may just sound like a fancy name - and it is - but it actually denotes an important distinction between the technology and that offered by most rivals.

Since the S7’s mop vibration frequency falls between the audio range of 20Hz and 20000Hz, it more than exceeds the bar to qualify as sonic.

“The big question was, ‘How do we make a robot mop that cleans well against stains and dirt?’. We took inspiration from the electric toothbrush and thought, well, if we can apply that technology at a very high rate of vibration, it would make a difference,” Roborock's Senior Product Director Ruimin Zhang told us.

“The product team needed to hit the sweet spot between the size of the sonic vibrating panel, as well as the desired speed, thus the vibration on the S7 happens on a small panel instead of the whole mop,” she added.

Rising to the challenge

Installing a panel that operates at a very high rate of vibration helps to more effectively clean the grime from user’s floors, but, alone, it still doesn’t solve the issue of the mop turning on and off between carpets and hard surfaces.

Enter, then, the debut of Roborock’s VibraRise technology - a lifting method that helps the mop to avoid carpets during cleans.

The S7 is cleverly able to detect the surface it’s on and automatically lift the mop if a carpet is underneath, meaning users are able to set the vacuum off around the house to tackle multiple floor surfaces without worrying if their new rug is going to be soaked.

“We have now got a new carpet recognition sensor on the S7, which works based on ultrasonic sound waves feedback,” Zhang explaonined.

“The main purpose of this sensor is to let the S7 know when it is on carpeted surfaces, and ensure that it goes into a ‘vacuum-only’ mode, so as not to mop rugs or carpets.

“In past design processes, we considered different carpet avoidance technologies, which included camera-based sensors, an optical mouse, infrared sensors, and so on. We have finally settled on using the ultrasonic sensor.”

So, when shifting onto a carpet from a hard floor, this technology simultaneously activates the mop lift feature, pauses the mopping motion and halts water flow.

How Roborock developed a mop as mighty as the vacuum for the flagship S7

Testing the waters

Even with big advancements ready to debut on the S7, though, these new features have to pass the rigorous testing procedures in Roborock’s lab.

For the company’s latest robot vacuum, the engineering team purchased hundreds of rugs and rubber mats featuring different fabrics, colors and textures - on top of building various different types of hardfloor areas - in order to cover off the typical user’s home environment.

“Our software engineers have used sophisticated algorithms on recognition training, testing, and debugging to ensure the best recognition result,” Zhang explained.

“We have even built a carpet recognition database and a Roborock Lab to try carpets and floor tiles with different materials, shapes, and hair length. These tests include over 95% of carpets and floor tiles options you can find on the market.”

Of course, extensive testing is common within the robot vacuum industry - not just for Roborock - though the VibraRise element does add a challenging variable into this typical scenario.

“As all other cleaning robots in the market, the S7 is working in complex environments with different types of obstacles on the ground,” Zhang continued.

“To make sure our S7 sonic mopping module only lifts up when it’s needed to, and performing normally in other hard floor areas, our engineering team has been going the extra mile on testing the S7 with combined environments, which requires over tens of thousands of sets of combinations of carpets, rugs and hard floors.

Roborock has also suggested its S7 testing will be a continuous effort, meaning that any issues that any that could potentially arise during its life cycle should quickly be squashed.

Roborock S7: Available now
Roborock S7: Available now

Switching gears to form a complete mopping system

As Ruimin Zhang has told us, the S7 represents a big shift in emphasis. Old technologies that helped keep homes clean have now been expanded on, all in the hope of creating a more rounded cleaning experience - and one that’s still simple to operate.

“When we first launched the Roborock S5, we used a gravity fed mopping system that basically followed up the vacuuming with a wet wipe. We then introduced the electronic water tank system on the S5 Max. This system allowed customers to have control over the amount of water flow from the app,” she said.

“With the S7, and the introduction of the VibraRise technology, we are looking to bring even more effective mopping alongside greater convenience to our users.”

The S7 now boasts double the mopping pressure of previous flagship models, and enough vibration to make it one of the fastest sonic mops on the market.

Add this to the motor’s ability to drive the peristaltic pump into accurately controlling the water flow out of the tank, and it’s easy to see how the company has made a huge leap forward in the mopping department.

Joined together with the outstanding vacuuming performance, and the S7 is undoubtedly the most powerful and intelligent cleaning machine to come out of Roborock’s lab so far.

Roborock S7: Available now
Roborock S7: Available now

TAGGED    robot vacuums

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