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Live From The iRobot Press Event

by Sean P. Aune | October 14, 2010October 14, 2010 4:49 pm PDT

Roomba is the most famous creation from the iRobot company, but the company is into building more than just vacuum cleaning devices, now their getting into robots with military applications.

The new PackBot is a multi-purpose robot capable of going into dangerous situations instead of soldiers, and can even have attachments that will allow it to disarm bombs.

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Weighing in at only 30 lbs, the PackBot can be carried by a soldier on their back.

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When compacted down, it fits into this backpack.

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No, this isn’t a new video game, this is the control system for the PackBot.

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The PackBot doesn’t forget its Roomba roots and uses the same technology to keep the military bot from going off edges, and will adapt to different terrains.

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This chart shows a room mapped by a Roomba using a smart algorithm, and on the right shows a standard mapping system.

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Colin Angle, the founder of the company, going over numbers and the fact that it has shipped over a billion dollars worth of robots thus far.

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The original Roomba uses six sensors, and took over 12 years to develop.

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Mr. Angle showing how the PackBot can save soldier’s lives.

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The Seaglider is a submersible robot from the country that can dive up to 1,000 meters, has a ten month battery life and can be controlled from anywhere in the world via a website. Information is beamed up to satellites via the antenna on the tail end.

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Need to get a robot into a tight space? Pass in this little guy and then let it transform once it’s inside.

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No, this isn’t a torpedo, its Ranger, and its meant for shallow water deployment.

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We don’ know what it is, but it scares us.

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Avert your eyes, kids, it’s a naked Roomba!

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Why not give your Roomba some personality?

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And that’s it, folks!

UPDATE: The nice folks over at iRobot sent us a couple update:

  • iRobot was founded 20 years ago with DARPA projects; to-date, more than 3,500 robots have been delivered to military and civil defense forces
  • PackBot was first deployed in 2002; while there’s collaboration within the company, Roomba and PackBot use different technologies
  • Roomba has many more than 6 sensors…and there’s over 40 behaviors to help it read and navigate the room.

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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