iRobot- Your Perfect Cleaning Mate

29 January, 2018 | By Ruchika Sharma
iRobot- Your Perfect Cleaning Mate

The basic difference between us human beings and animals is that we prefer to live in clean surroundings. Thanks to innovative products like iRobot that have been designed to save us from the mess of cleaning our homes. Offering a unique range of cleaning devices like vacuuming robots and mopping robots, iRobot Corporation has evolved as a company coming forward to help us clean all the accidental spills, pet hair, dust and all that makes our house look dirty.

What is iRobot?

Founded by not a single person but three MIT(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) graduates in 1990, iRobot Corporation is basically an American advanced technology company specialized in designing and crafting robots not just for home cleaning but also for military defence and space exploration. Over the years, the company has carved out a series of consumer robots to be used outside and inside homes. The most popular iRobot ranges are Roomba Vacuum Cleaners and Braava Floor Moppers.

Background: As told before, iRobot Corporation was jointly founded by three MIT graduates including Rodney Brooks, Helen Greiner and Colin Angle. As per the company report revealed in 2012, iRobot sold more than 8 million of home robots apart from deploying over 5000 robots for security and defence.

The major milestones of this robot manufacturing company include winning of a DARPA contract in 1998, to be the leader in developing PackBot. Later in 2002, the company proudly launched its home robot flagship called Roomba. Roomba was an instant hit and over a million units of this particular home cleaning robot were sold by the year 2004.

It was in 2015, when the company founded by three ex-MITians began trading on the NASDAQ under IRBIT ticker symbol. By the year 2012, the company proudly announced that it has acquired the popular manufacturer of automated floor mopper Mint called Evolution Robotics. In 2016, the company revealed that it would soon sell its military related robotics business to Arlington Capital Partners, so that it can focus mainly on the much in demand, consumer market.

Global Leadership with Expertise in Technology: Ever since its foundation, iRobot has shown excellence in inventing robots to empower people to clean both the inside as well as the outside of their home. Over a span of more than 25 years, this company has surely won millions of hearts and has established itself as one of the leading global consumer robot company on the basis of its expertise in technology.

The entire team of experts in this robot manufacturing company focus not just on innovation but also in allocating the right amount of capital to maximize the value of each and every shareholder. Over 20 millions robots manufactured by the company and countless authentic iRobot parts have been sold worldwide till date.

iRobot is not just a company designing home robots for cleaning purposes, it has designed highly efficient military robots, research robots, medical robots as well as some charity robots. The recent addition in its whole range of products is the iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Robot Vacuum that was launched in 2015.

Home Robots:

1.       Roomba:

Cleaning floors was never as easy as made by iRobot Roomba family of vacuuming robots. Designed to clean the entire floor with a mere push of a button, these home robots were first introduced in the year 2002. Featuring a set of intelligent sensors, Roomba robots work with onboard mapping and could navigate safely even after detecting obstacle on the way. The entire Roomba series of robots comprises of various different series like the 500, 600, 700, 800 and the latest 900 series.

2.       Braava:

After Roomba, came Braava family of mopping robots to mop the floors with utmost ease on an everyday basis. Incorporating the authentic iRobot parts, these mopping robots could easily mop all kinds of hard surface floors. Developed by Evolution Robotics for iRobot Corporation, Braava series of mopping robots actually used microfiber cleaning clothes and disposable for dry and wet cleaning respectively.

3.       Create:

In 2007, the company launched its hobbyist robot by the name called iRobot Create. Designed basically for robotics development, Create successfully replaced the vacuum cleaner hardware that was used in Roomba’s predecessor. Featuring a 7-pin Mini-DIN serial port, iRobot Create could easily read and motor command the sensor data using an iRobot Roomba Open Interface protocol or ROI.

4.       Mirra:

In the year 2013, this leading robot manufacturing company released iRobot Mirra or the swimming pool cleaning robot. Designed specifically to clean the floor and walls of swimming pools, this smart robot cleaner was truly a blessing. Many considered it as a successor of Verro robot and to be a perfect cleaner of small or large debris accumulated in swimming pools.

Military Robots:

1.       First Generation Robots:

Over the years, iRobot developed a series of first generation robots starting with the Genghis in 1991. It was designed for researchers and is currently placed at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. In 1996, came Arielm the crab shaped robot carved out to remove mines big or small in or outside water. Later in 1997, this leading robot maker invented Urbie for urban environments. This robot was capable of even climbing stairs with its two tank like track body.

After a couple of years, the company initiated an AI research project called SWARM to develop smart algorithms for swarms of individual robots. It was later in April 2016, when iRobot Corp., sold off its defence and security unit to a new company called Endeavor Robotics. The aim was now to focus mainly on consumer related home robots that were so much in demand.

2.       PackBot:

It was not actually the iRobot Roomba vacuum robots that brought the company name’s into limelight but PackBot military robots that were used for searching aids after 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The same robots were used in search aids at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011 after the tsunami incident.  Apart from these, over 2000 of PackBots were used along in Iraq and Afghanistan.

PackBot was introduced in three variants including a PackBot Scout, PackBot Explorer and a PackBot EOD or Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Moreover, as per a report of 2014, the U.S. Army was believed to refurbish about 224 PackBots with advanced technology in collaboration with NASA. PackBot 510 is the latest base model of this military robot that uses a videogame sort of a hand controller for an easy operation.

3.      Warrior:

Designed with authentic iRobot parts, Warrior is a military robot weighing about 250 lbs. It is capable of travelling upto 12 miles per hour up and down on the roughest terrains while carrying payloads of over 100 pounds at a time. This interesting military robot was developed to be used for bomb disposal and extraction of casualty from the battlefield.  

This unmanned robot is considered equally good for firefighting scenarios. However, initially, it was intended to be used only for route clearance, surveillance and scouting, but like its name, it emerged  to be a true warrior capable of climbing slopes and steps even at a steep 45 degree.

4.     Transphibian:

Another remarkable invention for military by this robotic company was Transphibian, a man portable UUV. This smart robot could act as a bottom crawler and enter both shallow water and deep water for detecting mines. It was used mainly for harbour defence and surveillance.

Featuring a hybrid navigation system, Transphibian was capable of carrying payloads for a variety of underwater operations. Developed initially by Nekton Corportation in North Carolina, Transphibian and the entire developing company Nekton was later acquired by iRobot Corporation in 2008.

5.       R-Gator:

This one is a huge 1,450 pounds weighing unmanned military robot capable of operating autonomously for the US military. It could easily follow up a map and choose its own ways in order to reach a predetermined destination with accuracy. This is not all, R-Gator could easily carry gear for soldiers for various military operations.

6.      Chembot:

Also known as a DARPA funded robot without motors or wheels, Chembot has been designed to run basically on chemical power. Since, it is made of highly flexible dielectric elastomers, Chembot could easily squeeze itself to pass by a small hole for a secret military operation.

7.       Ember:

With a weight of just 1lb, Ember is a miniature tracking robot that can even be disposed off when in danger of being caught. Controlled by a simple iRobot HOME App on a smartphone, Ember aims to enhance radio communications while capturing video footage for warfighters.

8.       FirstLook:

Weighing about 5.2lb, FirstLook is a small reconnaissance robot that can move at a highest speed of 3.8mph. Incorporating visible and thermal cameras, this robot comes with infrared sensors to not just collect images of caves, buildings and other locations but also transmit them with ease to other sources. Moreover, it has the capability to mesh up with a network of feeds from other similar robots to detect explosives.

9.       Negotiator:

Designed with an aim to offer civil response surveillance, Negotiator is a small reconnaissance robot. This man portable robot is widely used in the US army for its ease of use.

10.   AlRarm:

AIRarm, as the name suggests is a robot designed with an inflatable arm that could be easily inflated using an air pump. This one is an innovative military robot with no motors at all but only strings and actuators in its entire design.

11.   SUGV:

SUGV or Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle is another smart robot manufactured by iRobot Corporation for the US military’s Future Combat Systems.

Research Robots:

1.Seaglider: As the name suggests, Seaglider was invented by iRobot as an UUV or Unmanned Underwater Vehicle for the missions that may last for months over a miles of area underwater. The company in fact, grabbed a five year license to manufacture these research robots in 2008.

Some of the key functions of Seaglider robot were to measure the quantities, salinity and temperature in the oceans to send back the precise data back via global satellite telemetry. These research robots are widely used all across the world for similar functions to study different ocean and water bodies.

2. Ranger: Ranger is a smart and man-portable UUV or Unmanned Underwater Vehicle capable of supporting technologies related to mine warfare, homeland defence, underwater surveillance and expeditionary warfare. Besides aiding in ocean research, Ranger could be used for various commercial applications too like oceanography.

Weighing less than 44lb, this research robot was first developed by Nekton Research in North Carolina, but later the company was acquired by iRobot Corporation. Ranger could easily carry a number of sensors and can be easily programmed via Wi-Fi or Ethernet for conducting a variety of data monitoring projects.

Medical Robots: Besides just manufacturing home, defence or research robots, the company also tried bringing forth some interesting medical robots too like RP-VITA or Remote Presence Virtual and Independent Telemedicine Assistant Robot.

Produced in a joint venture with InTouch Health, RP-VITA is a cloud connected robot that aids in accessing the complete medical record of a patient within seconds. Moreover, through this robot, the doctors can easily insert diagnostic devices like ultrasound, stethoscopes and otoscopes for an accurate health checkup and treatment.

Products Discontinued:

1.       Dirt Dog: In 2006, Dirt Dog robot was released by iRobot Corporation mainly for workshop usage. Dirt Dog, as the name suggests, was capable of picking up small objects like bolts, nuts, dirt and debris that get scattered on the floors of factories and workshops. It could easily move on hard floors, industrial floors and even on shop carpets. Later, in 2010, this particular robot was discontinued.

2.       Scooba: Scooba that was released in the last quarter of 2005 was a limited edition floor washing robot from this genius robotic company. Later in 2006 Scooba was released in larger numbers. The initial models used non bleaching cleaning solutions and sometimes white vinegar to clean hard floors using Scooba. However, later the better models were introduced that used simple plain water. Later, in 2016, in order to bring forth the new Braava line of mopping robots, Scooba was discontinued.

3.       My Real Baby Jade: This one was a cute little robot toy released by the company. It was fitted with authentic iRobot parts in the year 2000 in partnership with Hasbro, a well-known toy manufacturer. Resembling a human infant, this robot toy gave facial expressions, but for some reasons was discontinued by the company.

4.       Looj: Released in 2007, Looj was a gutter cleaning smart remote controlled robot. It could easily fit inside the gutters to flush out the debris such as like dry leaves stuck inside. Its long treads made it move easily inside the gutters. In 2017, the product was discontinued.

5.       Verro: Launched in 2007, Verro, like Mirra, was a swimming pool cleaning robot. Many believe it was discontinued mainly to make space for the better and advanced Mirra swimming pool robot cleaner.

6.       ConnectR: Released in 2010, ConnectR was soon discontinued after its launch for reasons best known to the company.

Roomba Family of Vacuum Robots:

1. iRobot Roomba 614 Robot Vacuum: Considered as the first Roomba robot invented by iRobot Corporation, iRobot Roomba 614 Robot Vacuum is a perfect cleaner equipped with dual multi surface brushes. Incorporating the Dirt Detect Technology, this home robot made an appropriate use of 3 stage cleaning system for accurate cleaning of floors.

Through its iAdapt Navigation, this robot could intelligently navigate all across your home. Use it in a carefree manner because it will never fall off any stairs during an operation. Thanks to the Cliff Detect Sensors that prevents it from falling off stairs on right detection.

Measuring just about 3.6 inches in height, this robot comes fitted with an Auto Adjust Cleaning Head that could easily adapt its height to enable its brushes to clean the different surfaces as per requirement. This one was also the cheapest home robots developed using authentic iRobot parts that was priced at just $299.

2.  iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum: Incorporating the same old patented 3-stage cleaning system, iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum boasts of a smart set of sensors meant for perfect cleaning of your home. Enjoy the ease of edge-to-edge cleaning through this gadget using the iRobot HOME App and simply press clean or schedule cleaning tasks as per your choice.

Engineered for performance with its dual multi-surface brushes, iRobot Roomba 690 Home Robot makes the best use of Dirt Detect Technology to recognize the areas full of dirt. Fitted with powerful Lithium-Ion battery, this gadget can easily attack and suck all the dirt and debris from your home making it clean and beautiful as desired.

Priced at just $374.99, iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum comes with a home base charging station, 1 dual mode virtual wall barrier comprising of 2 AA batteries, 1 extra cleaning tool, 1 extra filter, owner’s guide and manufacturer’s warranty.

3. iRobot Roomba 890 Robot Vacuum Cleaner: Another interesting product that glorified the Roomba series of home robots was none other than the iRobot Roomba 890 Robot Vacuum Cleaner. Featuring an advanced Triple Stage Cleaning System, this WiFi cleaner comes with Edge-Sweeping Brush to remove dust and dirt from all corners of your home.

Easy to connect with the iRobot HOME App, this Roomba robot offers  5X more power than the previous models to lift, loose and such dirt, debris and pet hair. Designed to clean the hardest spots under furniture, this technically advanced robot can easily navigate anywhere, without even falling down the stairs because it has smart Cliff Detect Sensors to detect the stairs in front.

Always up to clean, this cleaner also sends alerts when the bin inside is full and needs to be emptied for further cleaning. You can even use the iRobot HOME App for proper status monitoring through this robot cleaner. The amount one needs to spend in order to bring home iRobot Roomba 890 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is $499.99.

4. iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum: Featuring iAdapt 2.0 Navigation along with Visual Localization Technology, iRobot Roomba 960 is an innovative home robot that offers a complete clean up of your home. Also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Roomba 960 will listen to all your commands for a perfect cleaning job.

Rest assured to enjoy a full 75 minutes of cleaning operation from this smart robot cleaner that automatically recharges and gets back to work once its Lithium Ion battery is charged up. Simply connect it via iRobot HOME App to set up your cleaning preferences and put this robot to work.

Offering a suction of upto 5 times more the air power through its AeroForce Cleaning System, this robot can easily navigate from room to room in a seamless way. You can easily bring home iRobot Roomba 960 Home Robot by spending $699.

5. iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum: Launched in 2015, iRobot Roomba 980 WiFi Vacuuming Robot is the latest product of the company. Designed for deeper cleaning of carpets, this Roomba robot offers multi room coverage when connected with a Wi-Fi.  The entire home can be easily cleaned using this smart robot cleaner that can navigate from room to room with utmost ease.

It comes equipped with an intelligent cleaning system that can automatically enhance the air pressure upto 10 times, especially on carpets. All one needs is to do is schedule this robot through the iRobot HOME App. Capable of running for upto 120 minutes, this product will automatically recharge and resume the cleaning task as scheduled.

Incorporating the intelligent AeroForce Cleaning System and Power Boost, iRobot Roomba 980 WiFi Vacuuming Robot can easily lift and suck dirt very effectively. Moreover, using the tangle free brushes supplied with it, you can easily clean pet hair from carpets and floors.

On the purchase of iRobot Roomba 980 WiFi Vacuuming Robot, one gets 2 dual more virtual wall barriers comprising of 4 AA batteries, 1 extra side brush, 1 extra filter, owner’s guide and manufacturer’s warranty. One can easily purchase this cleaning innovation in $799 from online portals like Amazon or from the company’s official website.

Braava Family of Home Cleaning Mops:

1. Braava Jet: Now say goodbye to daily cleaning at home with the new iRobot Braava Jet Mopping Robot. Designed to clean all the stains and dirt even from hard to reach spots, this mop is truly an innovation in its own way. Be it toilets, kitchens or drawing rooms, this robot mop can easily be attached with a cleaning pad for a wet, damp or dry sweeping of the floor.

Capable of cleaning even hard floors, iRobot Braava Jet Robot Mop features a powerful Vibrating Cleaning Head and a Precision Jet Spray to help loosen the stains and dirt from the floor and then all the dust is absorbed by the robot’s pads. It can easily navigate through your entire home to give you a clean floor with utmost ease of just pressing a button.

Priced at just $199.99, iRobot Braava Jet Mopping Robot is very easy to use and comes with a pack of washable and reusable cleaning pads. These pads can also be bought separately , if needed.

2. Braava 300 Series: Braava 300 Series Robot Mop from the house of iRobot Corporation is a notch above the previous Jet series. It has been especially designed to sweep multiple rooms and basically larger spaces in an effortless way. Incorporating the smart iAdapt 2.0 Navigation Cube, this robot mop allows you to easily track it anywhere in your home.

This powerful robot mop offers a complete coverage of mopping upto 1,000 sq.ft of area and 350 sq.ft in just one cleaning cycle. Moreover, you can easily sweep larger spaces using additional NorthStar Cubes with iRobot Braava 300 Series Robot Mop.

Feel free to choose pressing just Mop or Sweep for a perfect hard floor cleaning through this robot mop that comes fitted with all authentic iRobot parts. All you needs to spend to bring home iRobot Braava 300 Series Mopping Robot is $299.99.

Complete Range of Accessories: A complete range of accessories is easily available for a purchase to get the most out of any iRobot product. Whether it is an iRobot Roomba, Braava, Mirra or Create, a number of useful accessories matching each series of these products can be bought from the company or other online portals too.

For Roomba, you can get accessories like filter assembly, side brush, debris bin, flexible beater brush, and brush trap assembly.   On the other hand, options are galore in terms of washable, dry, microfiber and damp mopping pads and clothes for iRobot Braava Jet and 300 Series of Mopping Robots. One can even choose to get parts like NorthStar Navigation Cube to extract more out of a Braava device.

Easy to Personalize: For those who are not happy with the way the popular iRobot Roomba Home Robot looks, there is also an easy way to personalize this smart gadget. Yes, you can easily personalize your 800 or 900 series of Roomba vacuuming robot with a custom vinyl skin easily available from SkinIt.

Made of strong and durable vinyl material, these customizable skins are very easy to apply and remove as per requirement. Moreover, a wide array of beautiful options in terms of designs are available to choose from. Some of the skin options to choose from include art based designs, textured designs, lifestyle designs, photography designs and patterns. The price to buy these skins is affordable as $29.99, which may go higher depending on the design you choose.

STEM: With an aim to build a tech-savvy future for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education in the US, iRobot Corporation has committed itself to teaching students, their parents and educators everything they wish to know about the emerging robotics industry.

Those interested can avail a free robot demon through this endeavour of this expert robotic company. Moreover, the professionals here are more than willing to provide career introduction, internships and even mentoring students for a career in robotics in cooperation with STEM education.

National Robotics Week 2018: The latest to learn about iRobot Corporation is its active participation in the upcoming National Robotics Week 2018 to be held between April 7th -15th  2018. This will be the ninth annual National Robotics Week Event that will be marked as an occasion to celebrate USA’s leadership in the field of robotic technology development.

It is expected that this robotic firm will launch some interesting new products or give a glimpse of what is still in the making at the company. Not just iRobot Corporation but other big names in the world of robotics will enthusiastically participate to make this event grand by educating people about the impacts of robot technology on the society in the present scenario and in future.

Besides, there will an exciting Instructables Contest to be held during this gala event featuring amazing prizes for the winners. The list of prizes includes a smart Braava Jet, Create 2 and Create 2 Special Edition robot. There is no eligibility criteria to participate in this contest and anyone with a creative bent of mind can freely participate in it.

The Final Word: Since cleaning and mopping the floor is part of our daily life, one should try interesting innovative Wi-Fi enabled products like iRobot Roomba to save precious time for other important commitments. Featuring all the latest technologies from the world of robotics, all the products launched so far by iRobot Corporation have been praised worldwide for their ease of use and superb efficiency.

Moreover, now that the company focuses mainly on consumer home robots, one can definitely expect better and improved products like the latest iRobot Roomba 980 WiFi Home Robot.  It won’t be wrong to state that the world of vacuum cleaning has transformed in a tremendous way and undoubtedly, iRobot Corporation has played a big role in this achievement.

So, go get your iRobot gadget and forget your cleaning, mopping word, while staying updated with its activities through iRobot HOME App.

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