If you're abled like me, devices such as the best robot vacuums and best robot mops are fun and handy things to have. But if you have visual impairments or mobility issues, they're much more than just high-tech toys. That's why Samsung has created a new version of its Bespoke Jet Bot AI for people with visual impairments.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first: this is a Korea-only product for now. And that's a shame, because there's a lot of good ideas built into this bot.
Why make a special robot vacuum for visually impaired people?
According to SamMobile, Samsung decided to make the product because some 90% of visually impaired people in Korea have low vision with residual vision, which means that they need items to be in certain colours with high contrast in order to see them properly. Factor in the fact that for many people with visual impairments cleaning is one of the more difficult tasks to handle and you've got a pretty good reason to make a robot vacuum that looks very different to every other model on the market.
Those bold designs aren't just for show. They follow the 7:1 contrast ratio that's recommended by web standards agency the W3C: on a web page, 7:1 ensures that the foreground text is clearly visible compared to the background. The same contrast ratio works in the physical world too, as this collection from Core77 demonstrates: as you can see, that high contrast ratio, when used with bold colours, makes it much easer to see the outline of things such as furniture if you have low vision.
And as it turns out, it works pretty well for robot vacuum cleaners too.
I hope this isn't just a one-off, because one of the great things about smart home tech is the freedom it can deliver – whether that's smart doorbells making it easy for people with mobility issues to greet callers, smart speakers making homes more voice-controlled or robot vacuums that take care of the chores without posing a trip hazard. What's just a fun device or feature to me can be hugely valuable to many other people, and to companies too: with an estimated 1.3 billion visually impaired people out there, that's a lot of potential buyers.