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Dyson’s brilliant new AR app shows you where you vacuumed

Published Apr 10th, 2024 5:22PM EDT
Dyson mount for smartphones so you ca use the CleanTrace app while you vacuum.
Image: Dyson

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I’m at an age where I’m more likely to get excited about cool new vacuum cleaner tech than the latest iPhone 16 rumors. The iPhone is essentially the same every year. But as I get older, I want the cleaning devices I use to be easier to handle and more efficient.

Dyson just blew my mind with the CleanTrace app for its Gen5detect vacuum, which brings augmented reality (AR) to the vacuuming experience. It’s not about AR headsets, though the idea would work great on head-worn devices that support AR features.

Instead, CleanTrace is meant to work on your smartphone and show you where you vacuumed in real time. That way, you can improve your vacuuming skills and ensure you cover the entire home when using one of Dyson’s Gen5detect models.

It’s also an app idea that everyone in the industry should steal.

Dyson explains in a press release what inspired it to develop an AR app that shows whether you’ve covered the entire room during the vacuuming session.

First, Dyson says that we habitually overestimate the time spent cleaning. Dyson data shows that around 80% of cleaning sessions last less than 10 minutes. But people claim they’ve averaged 24 minutes per session.

Moreover, the same study says we underestimate how thoroughly we vacuum our homes. But we’re also “haphazard and inefficient.” We tend to cover the same areas multiple times and miss other spots completely.

Dyson CleanTrace AR app shows you where you vacuumed.
Dyson CleanTrace AR app shows you where you vacuumed. Image source: Dyson

Second, Dyson drew inspiration from how its Dyson 360 Vis Nav robot vacuum goes about cleaning a home, per Dyson’s VP of Engineering, Charlie Park:

We realized that we could all learn a thing or two from the methodical cleaning approach of our robot vacuums. Unlike most humans doing the cleaning, Dyson robots know where they are in the room, where they have been, and where they have yet to go. With the Dyson CleanTrace, we add this extra layer of cleaning intelligence to the Gen5detect vacuum. It gives you the ability to see where you have and haven’t cleaned, which, combined with our on-board particle sensing technology, gives proof that the floor is truly clean.

That’s where the CleanTrace AR app should come in handy. It’ll overlay a virtual layer that shows where you vacuumed on top of the real-world floors in your home. All you have to do is make sure you cover all the areas where the app tells you that you haven’t vacuumed, and your cleaning experience should improve.

Yes, using a smartphone and the Dyason Gen5detect vacuum simultaneously might be annoying. But as you can see in the top image, Dyson has thought of that. It’ll sell a smartphone mount accessory. Yes, it’s an accident waiting to happen. But you can also tell others you’re using Google Maps to navigate your vacuuming session just for the lols.

On that note, you’ll probably want to avoid vacuuming while wearing the Apple Vision Pro. This might be the best way to experience the AR app, assuming Dyson will support the spatial computer. But don’t wear the headset while cleaning.

That said, the new Dyson app sounds like overkill, sure. And it’s a gimmick, I agree. But I also think that using the CleanTrace app a few times would teach me to stop ignoring certain areas of the home when vacuuming. It could be enough to develop new habits, so I wouldn’t need the AR app as much in the future.

The expected downside in all of this is that CleanTrace is only available for the Dyson Gen5detect vacuums. This model can be quite expensive, starting at around $949.99. That makes the app a marketing trick, which could help Dyson sell more of its expensive models. But Dyson vacuums have always been more expensive.

Also, the app will only be available in June, so you have plenty of time to decide whether you need a Gen5detect in your life.

How long will we have to wait until we see Dyson’s competitors replicate CleanTrace? With all the AI software additions to home gadgets, I’d say not too long.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.