GB2225221A - Nozzle arrangement on robot vacuum cleaning machine - Google Patents

Nozzle arrangement on robot vacuum cleaning machine Download PDF

Info

Publication number
GB2225221A
GB2225221A GB8826772A GB8826772A GB2225221A GB 2225221 A GB2225221 A GB 2225221A GB 8826772 A GB8826772 A GB 8826772A GB 8826772 A GB8826772 A GB 8826772A GB 2225221 A GB2225221 A GB 2225221A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
nozzle
cleaning machine
sensor
sensing
cover
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB8826772A
Other versions
GB8826772D0 (en
Inventor
Hermann Meili
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Unilever PLC
Original Assignee
Unilever PLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Unilever PLC filed Critical Unilever PLC
Priority to GB8826772A priority Critical patent/GB2225221A/en
Publication of GB8826772D0 publication Critical patent/GB8826772D0/en
Publication of GB2225221A publication Critical patent/GB2225221A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L11/00Machines for cleaning floors, carpets, furniture, walls, or wall coverings
    • A47L11/40Parts or details of machines not provided for in groups A47L11/02 - A47L11/38, or not restricted to one of these groups, e.g. handles, arrangements of switches, skirts, buffers, levers
    • A47L11/4061Steering means; Means for avoiding obstacles; Details related to the place where the driver is accommodated
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/02Nozzles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2201/00Robotic cleaning machines, i.e. with automatic control of the travelling movement or the cleaning operation
    • A47L2201/04Automatic control of the travelling movement; Automatic obstacle detection

Abstract

A sensing nozzle system for a robot vacuum cleaning machine comprises support 6 fixed to the vacuum cleaning machine, nozzle 5 movably mounted on the support and flexibly connected to a vacuum system, motor 7 for moving the nozzle relative to the support, and sensor 8 to detect any obstacles in the path of the nozzle, the arrangement being such that the nozzle is retracted by the motor 7 towards the body of the vacuum cleaning machine when the sensor detects an obstacle, and is subsequently extended again thereby after a short waiting period. The sensor may be an air-filled tube connected to a pressure-sensitive device, a light-emitting diode/photodetector arrangement, or an ultrasonic sensor. When an obstacle is detected, an appropriate course correction is made. <IMAGE>

Description

NOZZLE SYSTEM The present invention relates to a nozzle system. More in particular, it relates to a sensing nozzle system for a robot vacuum cleaning machine and to a robot vacuum cleaner equipped with such a sensing nozzle system.

Robot floor cleaning machines are known in the art. For example, US patent 4,114,711 describes a robot floor cleaning machine having laterally spaced wheels which are driven by separate electric drive motors. The robot thereby follows a predetermined path. To ensure that the machine runs on its correct line, there is provided a remote monitoring device which may consist of a light source and a photodetector. Furthermore, there are provided feelers for locating obstacles such as a wall, and feelers for as yet unclean floor surfaces.

One of the problems encountered when trying to develop a robot vacuum cleaning machine is that it proves to be very difficult to cope with irregularities or projections in the walls of the room to be cleaned. The existing robots and robot floor cleaning machines have been designed to avoid such obstacles. A robot vacuum cleaner, however, must be capable of covering the area in remote corners and in the immediate vicinity of obstacles such as furniture, because it is generally known that dust preferably seems to accumulate in such places. A further problem is constituted by the fact that vacuum cleaning machines are too bulky to effectively cover the area in remote corners and other places which are difficult to reach.

It has been found that these problems may be overcome by the nozzle system of the present invention. According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a sensing nozzle system for a robot vacuum cleaning machine. According to a second aspect, there is provided a robot vacuum cleaning machine equipped with said sensing nozzle system.

The sensing nozzle system of the present invention comprises a support fixed to the vacuum cleaning machine, a nozzle movably mounted on the support and flexibly connected to the vacuum system, nozzle actuating means for moving the nozzle relative to the support, and a sensor for detecting any obstacles for the nozzle, whereby the nozzle is retracted by the nozzle actuating means towards the body of the vacuum cleaning machine when the sensor detects an obstacle, and is subsequently extended again by the nozzle actuating means after a short waiting period.

In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the sensor comprises a flexible tube mounted on the nozzle and means for detecting changes of pressure inside said tube, which occur when the nozzle hits an obstacle.

In another preferred embodiment of the invention, the nozzle is formed by a bottom plate and an overlapping cover leaving the mouth of the nozzle free, and the sensor is located on the cover of the nozzle.

In an alternative preferred embodiment, the cover is flexibly mounted on the bottom plate by means of mounts and the sensor on the cover is activated by a movement of the cover relative to the bottom plate.

Preferably, the sensor comprises a combination of a light source, preferably a light-emitting diode and a light detector, preferably a photo diode detector on the cover and a reflecting area on the bottom plate or vice versa, the light from the light source being reflected by the reflective surface to the light detector until it is intermitted when the cover and the bottom plate are displaced with respect to each other and the light from the light source is directed at a non-reflecting surface.

The invention will now be better explained by way of the following specific descriptions, in which Fig. 1 is a schematic view from above of a robot vacuum cleaning machine equipped with a sensing nozzle system of the present invention. The sensing nozzle is shown in the non-extended position.

Fig. 2 shows the principle of operation of the nozzle system according to the invention.

Fig. 3 shows a preferred nozzle system according to the invention.

Fig. 1 shows a robot vaccum cleaning machine according to the invention. It comprises a vacuum system 1 and one or more engines 2 for moving the machine around, as well as a steering wheel 3 which is preferably remote controlled. The driving engines are preferably electric drive motors, each being connected to one of the wheels 4 on which the engine is supported. The vacuum cleaning machine is preferably powered from an external energy source, but it may also carry an internal energy source such as rechargeable batteries. The remote control system may be a wireless remote control system operating at radio wave frequencies; it can also be an infra-red remote control system of known kind or an ultrasonic type system. Its function is to guide the robot vacuum cleaning machine along a predetermined path around the room to be cleaned.

The robot vacuum cleaner is equipped with sensors for detecting walls and other obstacles so that these may be avoided by taking appropriate course corrections.

The vacuum system is flexibly connected to the sensing nozzle system of the invention. This comprises an actual nozzle 5, movably mounted on a support 6 which is fixed to the vacuum cleaning machine. The nozzle can be retracted or extended by way of nozzle actuating means 7, which is preferably a Servo motor. Furthermore, there is provided a sensor 8 for detecting any obstacles for the nozzle. This sensor may be of any known type. For instance, the sensor may comprise a hollow air-filled tube connected to a pressure-sensitive device. The tube is mounted on the actual nozzle mouth and, upon hitting an object, the pressure increase inside the tube is detected by the pressure-sensitive device.

Alternatively, the sensor may be an ultrasonic type sensor. As soon as the sensor detects an obstacle, the electronic control system in the machine triggers the nozzle actuating means to retract towards the body of the machine. Meanwhile, the vacuum cleaning action continues as normal and the machine proceeds along its predetermined path. After a short waiting period, which is in the order of 0.1-0.5 seconds, and preferably 0.2-1 second, the electronic control system instructs the nozzle actuating means to extend the nozzle again. As soon as the sensor detects another obstacle, the nozzle is again retracted.

The aforesaid process is schematically shown in Fig. 2.

The dotted line corresponds to the position of the nozzle as the vacuum cleaning machine proceeds along the wall in the direction indicated by the arrow. When the vacuum cleaning robot has reached the projection X, there is no room to extend the nozzle any more. As soon as the central electronic system detects that the nozzle is almost permanently in the retracted position, it may take an appropriate course correction.

The effect of this sensing nozzle system is that the robot vacuum cleaner can effectively cope with irregularities of the wall of the room to be cleaned and that also areas in the immediate vicinity of the skirting of the wall is properly cleaned.

In Fig. 3 a preferred sensing nozzle system according to the invention is depicted. The nozzle mouth 9 is formed by a bottom plate 10 and an overlapping cover 11, which is flexibly mounted on the bottom plate by means of mounts 12. On the cover, a sensor 13 is located which is capable of detecting a relative movement of the bottom plate with regard to the cover.

A preferred example of such a sensor is also shown in Fig. 3. It comprises one or more pairs 13 of lightemitting diodes/photodiode-detectors on the cover and a reflecting area on the bottom plate. Of course, this system may also be mounted upside down because the movement to be detected is a relative movement. The light-emitting diodes and photo detectors are arranged in a way such that the light emitted from the lightemitting diode is reflected by the reflecting area and is focused on the photo detector. When the nozzle hits an obstacle, the reflected light is intermitted, which is detected by the photo detector.

Claims (8)

1. A sensing nozzle system for a robot cleaning machine comprising a support (6) fixed to the vacuum cleaning machine, a nozzle (5) movably mounted on the support and flexibly connected to a vacuum system (1), nozzle actuating means (7) for moving the nozzle relative to the support, and a sensor (8) to detect any obstacles for the nozzle, whereby the nozzle is retracted by the nozzle actuating means towards the body of the vacuum cleaning machine when the sensor detects an obstacle, and is subsequently extended again by the nozzle actuating means after a short waiting period.
2. A sensing nozzle system according to Claim 1, wherein the sensor comprises a flexible tube mounted on the nozzle and means for detecting changes of pressure inside said tube, which occur when the nozzle hits an obstacle.
3. A sensing nozzle system according to Claim 1, wherein the nozzle is formed by a bottom plate (10) and an overlapping cover (11) leaving the mouth of the nozzle free, and the sensor is located on the cover of the nozzle.
4. A sensing nozzle system according to Claim 3, wherein the cover is flexibly mounted on the bottom plate by means of mounts (12) and the sensor on the cover is activated by a movement of the cover relative to the bottom plate.
5. A sensing nozzle system according to Claim 4, wherein the sensor comprises a combination of a light source and a light detector on the cover (11) and a reflecting area on the bottom plate (10) or vice versa, the light from the light source being reflected by the reflective surface to the light detector until it is intermitted when the cover and the bottom plate are displaced with respect to each other and the light from the light source is directed at a non-reflecting surface.
6. A sensing nozzle system according to Claim 5, wherein the light source is a light-emitting diode and the light detector is a photo diode.
7. A sensing nozzle system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the nozzle is extended again after a waiting period of 0.1-5 seconds, preferably 0.5-1 second.
8. Robot vacuum cleaning machine equipped with a sensing nozzle system according to any one of Claims 1
GB8826772A 1988-11-16 1988-11-16 Nozzle arrangement on robot vacuum cleaning machine Withdrawn GB2225221A (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB8826772A GB2225221A (en) 1988-11-16 1988-11-16 Nozzle arrangement on robot vacuum cleaning machine

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB8826772A GB2225221A (en) 1988-11-16 1988-11-16 Nozzle arrangement on robot vacuum cleaning machine

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB8826772D0 GB8826772D0 (en) 1988-12-21
GB2225221A true GB2225221A (en) 1990-05-30

Family

ID=10646933

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
GB8826772A Withdrawn GB2225221A (en) 1988-11-16 1988-11-16 Nozzle arrangement on robot vacuum cleaning machine

Country Status (1)

Country Link
GB (1) GB2225221A (en)

Cited By (34)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0572930A1 (en) * 1992-06-02 1993-12-08 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Activated vacuum cleaner
US5309592A (en) * 1992-06-23 1994-05-10 Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. Cleaning robot
US5894621A (en) * 1996-03-27 1999-04-20 Minolta Co., Ltd. Unmanned working vehicle
WO2000036961A1 (en) * 1998-12-18 2000-06-29 Dyson Limited Vacuum cleaner
GB2353095A (en) * 1998-12-18 2001-02-14 Notetry Ltd Autonomous vacuum cleaner with top-mounted, side-looking obstacle sensor
US8239992B2 (en) 2007-05-09 2012-08-14 Irobot Corporation Compact autonomous coverage robot
US8253368B2 (en) 2004-01-28 2012-08-28 Irobot Corporation Debris sensor for cleaning apparatus
US8368339B2 (en) 2001-01-24 2013-02-05 Irobot Corporation Robot confinement
US8374721B2 (en) 2005-12-02 2013-02-12 Irobot Corporation Robot system
US8380350B2 (en) 2005-12-02 2013-02-19 Irobot Corporation Autonomous coverage robot navigation system
US8382906B2 (en) 2005-02-18 2013-02-26 Irobot Corporation Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet cleaning
US8386081B2 (en) 2002-09-13 2013-02-26 Irobot Corporation Navigational control system for a robotic device
US8390251B2 (en) 2004-01-21 2013-03-05 Irobot Corporation Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods
US8387193B2 (en) 2005-02-18 2013-03-05 Irobot Corporation Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning
US8396592B2 (en) 2001-06-12 2013-03-12 Irobot Corporation Method and system for multi-mode coverage for an autonomous robot
US8412377B2 (en) 2000-01-24 2013-04-02 Irobot Corporation Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot
US8417383B2 (en) 2006-05-31 2013-04-09 Irobot Corporation Detecting robot stasis
US8418303B2 (en) 2006-05-19 2013-04-16 Irobot Corporation Cleaning robot roller processing
US8428778B2 (en) 2002-09-13 2013-04-23 Irobot Corporation Navigational control system for a robotic device
US8463438B2 (en) 2001-06-12 2013-06-11 Irobot Corporation Method and system for multi-mode coverage for an autonomous robot
US8515578B2 (en) 2002-09-13 2013-08-20 Irobot Corporation Navigational control system for a robotic device
US8584305B2 (en) 2005-12-02 2013-11-19 Irobot Corporation Modular robot
US8600553B2 (en) 2005-12-02 2013-12-03 Irobot Corporation Coverage robot mobility
US8739355B2 (en) 2005-02-18 2014-06-03 Irobot Corporation Autonomous surface cleaning robot for dry cleaning
US8780342B2 (en) 2004-03-29 2014-07-15 Irobot Corporation Methods and apparatus for position estimation using reflected light sources
US8788092B2 (en) 2000-01-24 2014-07-22 Irobot Corporation Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot
US8800107B2 (en) 2010-02-16 2014-08-12 Irobot Corporation Vacuum brush
US8874264B1 (en) 2004-07-07 2014-10-28 Irobot Corporation Celestial navigation system for an autonomous robot
US8930023B2 (en) 2009-11-06 2015-01-06 Irobot Corporation Localization by learning of wave-signal distributions
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EP2583605A3 (en) * 2011-10-18 2018-04-18 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd Robot cleaner and control method for the same

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0572930A1 (en) * 1992-06-02 1993-12-08 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Activated vacuum cleaner
US5309592A (en) * 1992-06-23 1994-05-10 Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. Cleaning robot
US5894621A (en) * 1996-03-27 1999-04-20 Minolta Co., Ltd. Unmanned working vehicle
WO2000036961A1 (en) * 1998-12-18 2000-06-29 Dyson Limited Vacuum cleaner
GB2353095A (en) * 1998-12-18 2001-02-14 Notetry Ltd Autonomous vacuum cleaner with top-mounted, side-looking obstacle sensor
GB2344750B (en) * 1998-12-18 2002-06-26 Notetry Ltd Vacuum cleaner
US6601265B1 (en) 1998-12-18 2003-08-05 Dyson Limited Vacuum cleaner
GB2353095B (en) * 1998-12-18 2003-08-20 Notetry Ltd Sensors
US8478442B2 (en) 2000-01-24 2013-07-02 Irobot Corporation Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot
US8565920B2 (en) 2000-01-24 2013-10-22 Irobot Corporation Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot
US8412377B2 (en) 2000-01-24 2013-04-02 Irobot Corporation Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot
US8761935B2 (en) 2000-01-24 2014-06-24 Irobot Corporation Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot
US9446521B2 (en) 2000-01-24 2016-09-20 Irobot Corporation Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot
US8788092B2 (en) 2000-01-24 2014-07-22 Irobot Corporation Obstacle following sensor scheme for a mobile robot
US9144361B2 (en) 2000-04-04 2015-09-29 Irobot Corporation Debris sensor for cleaning apparatus
US8368339B2 (en) 2001-01-24 2013-02-05 Irobot Corporation Robot confinement
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US8838274B2 (en) 2001-06-12 2014-09-16 Irobot Corporation Method and system for multi-mode coverage for an autonomous robot
US8463438B2 (en) 2001-06-12 2013-06-11 Irobot Corporation Method and system for multi-mode coverage for an autonomous robot
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US8781626B2 (en) 2002-09-13 2014-07-15 Irobot Corporation Navigational control system for a robotic device
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US9215957B2 (en) 2004-01-21 2015-12-22 Irobot Corporation Autonomous robot auto-docking and energy management systems and methods
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