Roomba turns 10, still the best baby chariot around

Which one’s the future overlord?

Screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

When MIT roboticists wanted to launch an automated domestic vacuum cleaner for the masses, some of their backers balked at calling it a “robot.” People wouldn’t accept a robot in their homes, they said.

Ten years and more than 6 million sales later, iRobot’s Roomba has proved that robots are very welcome. In fact, we can’t wait for them to do more than just suck up dirt.

Roomba marks a milestone today, a decade since first rolling off the production line in 2002. In branding the machine, iRobot, a military-robotics company, tried to convey a sense of movement and fun along with “room” to emphasize being at home. The “Roomba” is now in homes around the world.

It’s in its sixth generation with the 700 series, and collectively Roombas have managed to clean more than 1 million tons of dirt, according to iRobot, equivalent to 2.87 Empire State Buildings.

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