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Video Friday: Roomba Turns 10!

Happy birthday dear Roooombaaaaaa, happy birthday to you!

2 min read
Video Friday: Roomba Turns 10!

This week, the iRobot Roomba celebrated its 10th birthday. Ten years of autonomous vacuuming, and we're confident that there's even more amazingness ahead. Why are we confident? Just look at those cakes, man! That's enough to instill anyone with confidence. And hunger. Okay, mostly hunger. We have video of the cakes in action (yes, there is action), plus lots more, for this week's Video Friday.


So what should we infer from the fact that everyone went for the Verro and the Scooba? Least popular? Tastiest?

Seriously though, 10 years is a long time for this little robot, and it's undergone quite an evolution:

And here are a bunch (seriously, a bunch) of things that you may not have known about Roomba:

And lest you forget that iRobot makes other home robots, here's a video of a Looj doing what a Looj does:

Unofficial statement from iRobot on this event:

At the time of 12:45 pm EST on Friday, September 14, 2012, the iRobot Looj 330 gutter cleaning robot did in fact annihilate the little weedy tree in the gutter on iRobot headquarters. It took approximately 40 minutes for the determined robot to thoroughly clean the stretch of gutter while keeping the operators safe. Scott was deemed the victor.
“We build our robots to tackle dull, dirty and dangerous jobs. This one in particular was certainly dirty and dangerous, but far from dull!” Said Outdoor Product Manager Jeff Karlson. “I am very proud of this robot today – it proved it was truly re-engineered to be better and more amazing than previous generations. I look forward to getting back to work building more outdoor robots.”
“It’s a shame that I lost, and was humiliated in front of the entire company,” said Jim. “But I’m glad the robot actually works!”

Congratulations to iRobot for proving for the last 10 years that you can make good robots and money at the same time, and we're looking forward to another Roomba retrospective in 2022.


In non-iRobot news, I Heart Engineering has put an open source hobby/research/education grade robotic arm on Kickstarter. Why should you care? Here's why:

The original design requirement was for the arm to be able to manipulate 12oz cans for robotic beverage delivery tasks. The Baccus arm is an ideal upgrade for your party robot.


[ Kickstarter ]



And now, this:

Via [ Geekologie ]



Texas A&M's AMBER (A&M Bipedal Experimental Robot) is a custom bipedal halfanoid that walks with a human-like heel toe gait.

Custom means custom, from ground up hardware to ground up software. Impressive!

[ AMBER Lab ]



Check out the arms (and grippers!) on Yaskawa's Dexter robot as it deals hands of blackjack to humans attending  IMTS2012 in Chicago:

[ Motoman ]



Finally this week, MOAR ROBOT COMBAT VIDEOS! If you're anywhere near the SF Bay Area, or even if you're not, don't forget to buy tickets to see all this action LIVE LIVE LIVE at ComBots Cup VII on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 - 21.

[ Combots ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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