iRobot Corporation is an American advanced technology company founded in 1990 by three MIT graduates who designed robots for space exploration and military defense. Incorporated in Delaware, the company designs and builds consumer robots for inside and outside of the home, including a range of autonomous home vacuum cleaners (Roomba), floor moppers (Braava), and other autonomous cleaning solutions.
iRobot was founded in 1990 by Rodney Brooks, Colin Angle and Helen Greiner after working in MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab.
iRobot has sold more than 8 million home robots, and has deployed more than 5,000 defense & security robots, as of 2012.
In addition to deployment as bomb-disposal units with the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, PackBots have been used to gather data in dangerous conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster site, and an IRobot Seaglider detected underwater pools of oil after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
iRobot has been criticized for attempting unregulated use of 6240-6740 MHz band, and asking for an FCC exemption to do so. This band is for use for the lawn mowing robot without needing to use an electronic fence as a boundary marker, instead by using radio beacons. The band falls into a band reserved for radio astronomy use, thus interfering with radio telescope observations of methanol's 6.66852 GHz emissions.
In February 2016, iRobot announced that it would sell its military robotics business to Arlington Capital Partners, in order to focus more on the consumer market.
Roomba is an automated vacuum cleaning robot first released in 2002. Roomba is powered by a rechargeable battery, and many models are available with a docking station to which the Roomba should return to recharge at the end of its cleaning cycle. They work in conjunction with accessories that use both IR and RF.
The company intentionally allows customers to hack the robot because they want people to experiment and improve the product. The API for the serial has been published and the serial port made easily accessible to make modifications easy to perform.
Braava is iRobot's Floor Mopping Robot, designed to work on all hard-surface floors. Braava uses disposable or microfiber cleaning cloths for damp and/or dry cleaning. The design was known as the Mint until 2013. It was developed by Evolution Robotics, which was acquired by iRobot in 2012.
Create is a hobby robot, released in 2007. Create offers users the possibility of changing or adapting the robot's functions through experimentation with the basic elements of robotics as well as by adding sensors, grippers, wireless connections, computers, or other hardware.
Mirra is a swimming-pool cleaning robot released in 2013. The Mirra cleans a pool's floor and walls of large and small debris. It is the successor of the Verro.
Scooba was iRobot's floor-washing robot. The product became commercially available in limited quantities in late 2005 before a full product release in 2006. Early models required either a special non-bleach cleaning solution or white vinegar to wash hard floors. Newer units could use plain water. Several versions were marketed. iRobot phased out the Scooba line of products in favor of the Braava line of floor moppers in 2016.
Dirt Dog was designed for workshop use and was released in 2006. This product picks up small objects such as nuts, bolts, dirt, and debris from a workshop or similar floor. The unit was able to be used on hard floors, shop carpets and industrial floor surfaces. The Dirt Dog was discontinued in late 2010.
My Real Baby was a robotic toy marketed by iRobot from 2000 and produced in partnership with the toy manufacturer Hasbro. It is no longer in production. This product, which was meant to look like a human infant, employed animatronic facial expressions and was developed from an emotionally expressive and responsive robot developed by iRobot corporation called "IT."
Connect R was made in 2010 and then discontinued.
Verro was a swimming-pool cleaning robot released in April 2007.
Looj was a gutter-cleaning robot released in September 2007, and based on an autonomous version created for a science fair project created by Lucas Garrow in 2004 (Garrow was a finalist in the 2004 The Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC)). Looj is not an autonomous robot, but rather a remote-controlled robot patterned after a toy tank with an auger mounted on the front. The robot fits inside most gutters to clean out debris stuck inside them, such as leaves and pine needles. It has long treads on its side which allow it to move inside the gutter. The auger dislodges and removes almost all of the debris inside the gutter by flinging it sideways into the air. Looj also has a detachable handle/remote that is used to carry and operate the robot. It was discontinued in 2017.
In April 2016, iRobot sold off its Defense & Security unit, with a new company being formed called Endeavor Robotics.
AIRarm is an inflatable arm robot developed by iRobot. The inflatable arm uses pumps to inflate the arm. Since the arm uses strings and actuators, no motors were used at the joints.
FirstLook is a small reconnaissance robot weighing 5.2 lb (2.4 kg) with a top speed of 3.8 mph (6.1 km/h) and line-of-sight control range of 200 m (219 yd). It has visible and thermal cameras and infrared sensors to gather and transmit images of buildings, caves, or other locations. It can participate in explosive ordnance disposal by carrying 2.5 lb (1.1 kg) of C4 explosive to an IED. The robot has the ability to mesh together a network of feeds from other robots to extend the range of its sensors. The FirstLook has CBRN detectors and is semi-autonomous, meaning it can perform tasks like course correction and flipping itself over without direct intervention. 100 were bought by JIEDDO in March 2012 and the Pentagon has ordered hundreds more.