A beta test will see top-tier Roomba models adding to their duties as they wander around your home. In addition to the cleaning, they will also be mapping the strength of the Wi-Fi signals, looking for dead zones and weak-spots …

CNET reports that you’ll be able to review maps of your Wi-Fi coverage just as you do the cleaning paths.

The upgrade covers iRobot’s top-tier vacuums, the Roomba 960 ($700) and Roomba 980 ($900).

When enhanced, the robots will clean floors normally while searching for spotty networking signals. The robots log any problem areas and merge that data with vacuum coverage maps they ordinarily create. Roomba owners can then use the info to tweak their wireless networks accordingly.

The first stage of the beta-test, starting later this month, will be limited to as few as 1-200 members of the Beta program, but will lead to larger trials involving 10-20% of compatible models.

An earlier version of this piece referred to a Reuters story on iRobot selling customer data, with permission. iRobot tells us this isn’t the case, and resulted from a misunderstanding in an interview with the company’s CEO.


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