How the Roomba robotic vacuum revolutionized house cleaning

Roomba

A widely used product is the Roomba. Including specific models of cleaning robots made by competing companies. The iRobot company has found commercial success. Although surprising, Amazon’s acquisition of the firm for $1.7 billion was inevitable. iRobot’s Roomba robots have transformed housecleaning. Future household robots will be natural.

Probably own a Roomba. Or you know one. Or thought of buying it? Other than Roomba You know what I mean. Cleaning robots, robot vacuum cleaners, or whatever we choose to name them are as prevalent as the TV, fridge, or coffee maker. Some sweep, some vacuum, and others wet the floor and clean it with a cloth. iRobot produced 53,240 million dollars worldwide in this electronics industry last year.

Dyson, Xiaomi, Samsung, Bosch, and Roborock make cleaning robots. Many are launching autonomous gadgets that recognise walls, doors, stairs, and things. They sweep and vacuum with some success. Time-saving. We’re entertained. They’re pet-friendly. In 2022, Amazon bought iRobot, the first company to effectively commercialise cleaning robots. A $1.7 billion deal that was well publicised and, in part, inevitable.

The iRobot was developed in the IA Lab at MIT

Some fear Amazon intends to use Roomba scan data to spy on us and learn what we do in our homes. Others believe iRobot’s technology will improve Amazon warehouse robots. Who knows, maybe we’ll get shipments from this firm without humans. Third parties believe Amazon’s robotic mascot, Astro, will become more than a pricey toy.

But we won’t do that here. We like the past. When someone believed domestic robots were a good idea. Like sci-fi movies and novels. Similar to the mop or wringer. Or greater, as robot vacuums require no work. Don’t let him fall down the stairs or attack your cat. MIT researchers had the concept. Your turn.

Pre-Roomba iRobot

Amazon bought iRobot for $1.7 billion in 2022. A less-famous name than Roomba. Many call any cleaning robot a Roomba, even if made by Bosch, Roborock, or Xiaomi. Even vacuum cleaner maker Dyson entered this market.

Moreover. iRobot began in 1990. Back then, no one imagined floor-sweeping robots. MIT researchers had the concept. Or his AI Lab. Rodney Brooks, Colin Angle, Helen Greiner. Colin Angle is the company’s CEO. And domestic robots weren’t in their thoughts.

Genghis is Roomba’s ancestor

iRobot originally designed military and space robotics. A industry with lucrative contracts. Ambitious but less risky than civil commercial projects. Genghis was his first endeavor a year after founding the firm. Space-exploration robot. It was insect-shaped. Unlike centralized robots, each leg was independent. It’s at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

They debut their second project six years after iRobot. Ariel is a robot that detects and destroys shallow marine mines. This robot was commissioned by DARPA, a US military outfit known for satellites, robotics, and the Internet’s ancestor. Ariel’s sensors included location, pressure, metal detector, and depth. Roomba is unrelated. They’re there.

PackBots aren’t handmade Roombas

PackBot or iRobot PackBot is the third major project of this robotics and AI business, whose brains are Rodney Brooks, regarded one of the finest specialists in AI and robotics at the time. It will play a key part in the hunt for survivors after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Ten years later, CNN evaluates the function of the PackBots, “shoebox-sized monsters” with tank wheels and movable limbs. “How 9/11 Inspired New Robotics” is the article’s title. He talks about iRobot and giving robots autonomy. In that piece, they didn’t envision the company’s “domestic” future. This would change. After 9/11, US forces utilize PackBot robots in 2002. They also created a robot for National Geographic to investigate the Great Pyramid.

Linus and Roomba

iRobot’s first home product launches in 2002. After a decade of military and exploratory robots, they gambled on civil commerce. They’ll do it in style with the Roomba robot vacuum. They’ll continue working on public and commercial contracts and initiatives.

iRobot recognizes the opportunity and launches new home robots. After Roomba in 2002, Scooba mopped floors in 2005. Dirt Dog, a commercial cleaning robot, debuted in 2006. Looj, a pipe and gutter cleaner, Verro, a pool cleaner, and Create, a programmable mobile robot, follow in 2007. Like a Roomba for developers and robotics hobbyists. iRobot works on marine and communications robots in the 21st century. SPARK is his educational endeavor (2009). The business side of cleaning robots overshadows all this.

iRobot will pay $74 million for Evolution Robotics in 2012. This firm focused on computerized vision and autonomous navigation, growing its patents and AI/robotics knowledge. Also made cleaning robots. It was renamed iRobot Braava the following year.

What happened to iRobot’s founders?

The rest is well-known. In 2013, iRobot sold 10 million domestic robots worldwide; in 2017, that number quadrupled to 20 million. Self-charging vacuums. iRobot has launched several product lines throughout the years. iRobot sells the Roomba and Braava. First vacuumed and swept, then mopped with water. Brooms and mops, goodbye.

As for iRobot’s original partners, its President and CEO is Colin Angle, one of the three founders. In 2008, robotics expert Rodney Brooks launched Rethink Robotics with Ann Whittaker. As Heartland Robotics. In 2018, it was bought by the German HAHN Group and changed its name and headquarters to Germany. Rodney Brooks founded a third firm, Robust.AI, in 2019.

Helen Greiner, iRobot‘s third founder, is CEO of an organic food firm. Her staff includes iRoomba robotics specialist Joe Jones. Who invented Roomba? In 2008, she left the firm she co-founded to become CEO of CyPhy Work, a drone startup. She advised the Army on robots and AI in 2018. In 2020, she combined robotics with farming.

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