AC – iRobot

Session starts with the conference Dell laptop going to the blue screen of death. Hah!

Mission: freedom from tedious and dangerous jobs. They’ve been around since 1990. Started the company after grad school at MIT. They’ve sold 1M Roomba’s so far. Watchted a demo. Won’t fall down stars, will go under coach, self dock for charging.

Robotics will be in a lot of products. Another vision: household chores are history. Different devices handle different chores: washing windows, lawn mower, dusting, washing the floor. Their tag line “Robots for the Real World.” $28M funding for iRobot. Showed their PackBot product. It’s a robot that goes where Marines won’t (showed pictures of soldiers avoiding the need to go into caves in Afghanistan. They got post cards from soldiers in Iraq for the Pack Bot saving soldiers lives. Saving lives, cool.

Yet another Windoz problem–video goes dead. Reboot. 😉

Talked about distributed automated algorithms to control a hundred robots in some MIT similulation. There’s no lead robot, they send out the swarm of bots to find an object. Once one finds one, it sends out a single to the other robots and they swarm. Compared it to the same behvior as ants. The robots communicate with their closed neighbors. The video is amazing. 🙂