Vacuum cleaner with obstacle avoidance

  • US 6,226,830 B1
  • Filed: 08/20/1997
  • Issued: 05/08/2001
  • Est. Priority Date: 08/20/1997
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. A cleaning apparatus which comprises:

  • a housing provided with an electric motor, a body portion which comprises an intake portion, a hose portion attached to the body portion and adapted to permit a user to move the cleaning apparatus by user movement of said hose portion at least one direction-controlling means comprising one or more castor wheels which controls the direction of the forward motion of said apparatus in response to a controller, and a controller comprising a signal processing unit (SPU) for controlling at least the direction of the at least one castor wheel, wherein the body portion includes angular front portions at least one of which includes at least one touch or proximity sensor for detecting the presence of at least one obstacle in the proximity of a travel path of the cleaning apparatus and delivering an input to the SPU, the controller being adapted to actively control at least the direction of at least one castor wheel to actuate a change in at least the direction of the at least one castor wheel based on said detection and input, said controller being effective, based solely on input from said sensor, to cause the cleaning apparatus to move in the correct direction to avoid the obstacle when the user pulls the hose portion at the point in time of contact or sensing.

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