From Electrolux web site September 2002

Facts on the Trilobite

The Trilobite is the world’s only series-manufactured, automatic vacuum cleaner.
The first prototype was presented to the public in 1997 on the BBC TV program “Tomorrow’s World.” The Trilobite, which will be on the market in a couple of weeks, has extensive research and development behind it.

The Trilobite is a totally new product compared to the prototype that was presented in 1997. The product that soon will be available in shops has a charging station where the vacuum cleaner docks by itself, three cleaning programs (normal, quick, and spot vacuuming), a reusable dust box (no dust bags are needed), flexible drive wheel suspension and an LCD display. The Trilobite now also has improved sonar for navigation (more microphones and enhanced frequency), which improves its “sight,” a new fan system and high-performance, environmentally friendly batteries (nickel-metal hydride). The actual vacuum cleaner system has also been improved in several ways, resulting in reduced noise levels and other benefits.

Ultrasound navigation

The vacuum cleaner navigates using ultrasound – just like a bat. The sonar that emits the ultrasound vibrates at a rate of 60,000 Hz and is coated with a thin gold plate for best performance. The Trilobite has no problem avoiding collision with things placed on the floor – for example the dog’s water bowl. Special magnetic strips are placed in doorways, near stairs and other openings. These act as a wall, keeping the Trilobite in the room. The machine contains sophisticated electronics and four motors – one for each driven wheel, one for the brush and one for the fan.

Finds its own charger

The machine can find its own way back to the charger. If the cleaning hasn’t been completed when the vacuum cleaner needs to be charged, the Trilobite continues cleaning when charging is finished, after about two hours. Once cleaning is completed, the machine returns to its charging station and switches to rest mode.

Three cleaning programmes

The Trilobite has three cleaning programs – normal, quick and spot. One charge is sufficient for one hour’s cleaning.

Normal: The machine cleans first along the walls and then all open areas. When it scans the wall, the Trilobite creates a picture of the room. The wall phase then forms the basis for calculation of the time required for independent cleaning.

Quick: Skips the wall phase and carries out independent cleaning directly.

Spot: Cleans an area of approx. 1 m’ twice.

Made in Västervik, Sweden

All Trilobite manufacture takes place at the Electrolux plant in the town of Västervik in Småland, Sweden.

To be exported

Sweden is the first market for the Trilobite, but the product will be exported to other countries.

Technical data

The Trilobite

Diameter: 350 mm
Height: 130 mm
Weight: 5 kg
Noise level: Approx 75 dBA
Power: Approx 90 W
Speed: Max 0.4 m/sec
Navigation: 180º ultrasound
Quick stop: Lift the machine
Dust collector 1.2 liters
Vacuum duration Approx 60 mins/charge
Batteries Environmentally friendly nickel metal-hydride
Charging duration Approx 2 hours

Height: 130 mm
Width: 160 mm
Length: 380 mm
Weight: 0.8 kg
Input voltage AC 230-240 V, 50/60 Hz
Output voltage: Max DC 28 V
Power: 60 W
Cord length 180 cm

The original Trilobite

The trilobite was a type of arthropod that vacuumed the ocean beds for small animals and particles about 250-560 million years ago. Its back was hard, and the trilobite is perhaps the best known of the fossils seen in walls, steps and flooring made of stone. This animal has lent its name and its shape to the new Trilobite vacuum cleaner.

RENEW, Sept 24, 2002

Although some people might enjoy pushing around a 20-pound noise machine, the rest of us would rather do something else. Like watch paint dry. Fortunately, the tedious cleaning chore may become extinct. Last year, Electrolux introduced the Trilobite, the world's first automatic vacuum cleaner. Inspired by an oval-shaped, flat prehistoric animal that cleaned ocean floors, the Trilobite uses ultrasound to "see" like a bat; it follows a path along room walls to determine layout and cleaning time. Its eight detectors allow it to move around obstacles, including pets and children. Electrolux's Trilobite sells for 1,500 Euros ($1,400) in Sweden and is expected to have a wider launch later this year.