iRobot has been working in robotics for the military since the early 90’s. They are commercially known more for their Roomba robots.
Reuters put out a great human interest story detailing the attachment and sentiment that has reportedly been built up by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan using robots as tools to perform tasks such as sniffing out bombs and improvise explosive devices.
“‘Please fix Scooby Doo because he saved my life,’ a soldier told repair technicians”
Its not hard to understand the attachment someone could develop for a machine. Naming a rifle was glorified a bit in the movie ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and to an extent this is an extension. In the military, personnell are trained to take care of their equipment as their lives depend on the equipment. A robot that can check to see if a potential object is a bomb, can literally save their life time and time again.
iRobot is hoping to leverage this perception of this attachment into future robotics devices as well. How much could your average consumer appreciate a robot that can actually mow the grass, fold and separate laundry, pick up around the house or diagnose and service your car?
(Uh wait, you’ve got a Mazda 3? Sorry too technical for us, was the words I heard over and over again by quick change oil places when I was on a short business trip in Illinois last month and needed an oil change. If I had a robot to service the car, it might be as simple as downloading an update to the robot overnight, while I’m drinking a beer and watching TV – or more realistically, programming a web page or reading some archane book to teach me how to program something.)
I’ll be up front with my audience here. I’m an Isaac Asimov fan, have been for almost 25 years now. I’ve had the future laid out for me in fiction for a long time coming and Will Smith only gave us a tiny glimpse.
I can’t wait to see what strikes up next.
Soldiers bond with iRobot machine; CEO dreams big