iRobot announced today that it has sold more than five million home robots since launching its Roomba Vacuum Cleaning Robot in 2002.
(Roomba also making inroads with other species)
“This achievement represents a huge milestone for iRobot and for the robotics industry as a whole,” said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot. “We set out to create practical robots that help people accomplish tasks they don’t like to do, and in many cases, don’t have time to do. With over five million home robots sold, we have seen a widespread acceptance of this technology. This further fuels our drive to innovate and provide solutions that make a difference in people’s lives.”
Sixty years ago, not many people thought that every home would have a robot to clean the floors. Robert Heinlein did, though.
What Hired Girl would do (the first model, not the semi-intelligent robot I developed it into) was to clean floors . . . any floor, all day long and without supervision. And there never was a floor that didn't need cleaning. It swept, or mopped, or vacuum-cleaned, or polished, consulting tapes in its idiot memory to decide which. Anything larger than a BB shot it picked up and placed in a tray on its upper surface, for someone brighter to decide whether to keep or throw away. It went quietly looking for dirt all day long, in search curves that could miss nothing, passing over clean floors in its endless search for dirty floors.
(Read more about Heinlein's Hired Girl robot)