iRobot may be best known for the floor-cleaning Roomba, but here’s the company’s full story: Revenue climbed by roughly $50 million in 2013 to almost $500 million, and investments in new technologies totaled $60 million. “We take an extremely long view of our role in the robotics industry,” says CEO Colin Angle. iRobot is ensuring its place in a mechanical future by researching and releasing new products and capabilities while still pulling in contracts for its established line of security and military systems. That is to say, its bots are among us. Here are four of the companies notable mechs.
This battlefield-proven bot, worn as a backpack, earned a $30 million U.S. army contract; iRobot sold $7.2 million worth of them to Brazil.
Codesigned with Yale and Harvard researchers, this arm (for military bots) is dexterous enough to use door keys.
Still in development, this video-conferencing bot maneuvers to meetings and can follow individual workers around.
Meet the next-gen Roomba, which navigates well and uses a Swiffer-like cloth, and (along with an earlier version) has pulled in $24 million in sales.
[Illustrations by Peter Oumanski]