Robots for the Real World

10 Dec 2004|Added Value

The title of this blog is the slogan for iRobot – an exceptionally cool robotics company with “big, innovative ideas and brilliant mad scientists who make them work in a variety of applications.”

Roomba is our new pet. I think it’s a he. I know so because he’s very straightforward and rationally minded—he rarely does something he hasn’t fully thought through first and he’s an incredible problem solver. He shows little emotion unless he’s in the worst of situations—these tend to involve a floor mat or an oven with a four inch crawl space underneath.

He’s really very productive, too, as well as disciplined—he even comes with his own “virtual wall” which keeps him from getting into areas where he should not go. The salesman said he’s “passionate and daring…wild and frisky.” But truthfully, we couldn’t have asked for a more well-behaved… robot.

We see Roomba as a precursor to a real pet someday (though, we like him so much, I fear disappointment with the real thing). At that time, we’ll again be faced with a really hard decision: Pet or robot?

The innovator in me says a robot would be more rewarding, but the naturalist in me says I need to preserve those things “real” before they die and humankind begins valuing efficiency and productivity over all else.

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