From the wrecked military robot to the founder of the rumba I have visited museums & cafeterias with full history of iRobot at the US headquarters

IRobot, which is developing the world best selling family robot vacuum cleaner "Rumba" series and the US military's reconnaissance robot etc, has prototypes and phantom models that were released in the past , There is a museum where precious robots are stored. I attempted to visit the US head office this time.

That's why I arrived at iRobot. Regarding research and development etc. that the company is conducting,I went to the US headquarters of iRobot at the forefront of robot business and covered research and development sitesIt is posted in.


The entrance looks something like this.

A door written as "COOL STUFF". Robots developed in the past are being pushed forward in the meaning of feeling like IKE Ikemo, cool looking belonging to Japanese.

The inside is as follows.

The shelves on which the robots produced earlier were displayed.

A robot produced by Mr. Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot during his school days.

Leg made of wood chips like disposable chopsticks. It seems like a simple making, although it looks like it was made appropriately, but it is a precious existence that will become the founder of every robot that the company will manufacture after this.

Genghis (Genghis), a 6-legged robot built around 20 years ago in mind for exploration activities on Mars and others. It seems that here is the Unit 2 and the Unit 1 is being exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum.

Gingis brothers who changed the arrangement of sensors etc. "Hermes (Hermes)".

A tubular robot "MicroRig" which was developed to advance through pipes of oil plants and collect data.

Size one size smaller than PET bottle.

Looking from the front like this.

"R2" made for cleaning nuclear facilities.

Robots for toys that had been sold at a time.

The prototype of the toy robot is a robot "IT" that expresses emotions made in 1995 with expression. This machine is said to be the first robot to decorate the cover of National Geographic magazine.

There are certainly certain faces, but it is a mystery whether we can read emotions from here.

Based on the research of "IT", this baby type robot was made.

Eyebrows, eyebrows and cheeks move.

The contents are like this when peeling the rubber of the face. scared…….

In addition, this baby type robot was later commercialized under the name "My real Baby" and actually sold. However, it was hard to convey the attractiveness of products when facial expressions were put in the shop in the state of being in the package, it was forced to withdraw from the market because it was broken by a more simple and inexpensive competing product. This lesson seems to have led to a policy of conducting a demo by moving the real machine thoroughly at shops when selling rumba later.

Dinosaur type robot. Since iRobot is withdrawing from the toy business, sales are not done now. The staff who explained me was saying "It is an extinct species (laugh)", but it is a subtle place whether I can also laugh here.

A robot moving around in response to sound.

Frog type robot introduced only as "having tremendous jumping power".

Wheels with suction cups developed to climb the wall.

It's small enough to hold with one hand, but in this it has a built-in battery and motor, it is possible to operate independently.

A joint model that was used to study Gnyagna-like movements like octopus.

It is designed to enable self-propelled unmanned cleaning machines for business purposes used in department stores and stations.

Although it had reached a practically usable level, it was criticized as "taking away his job" from the labor union, and after that it seems to aim to make a robot "I will help people but not take jobs" .

The main product of iRobot, which is in line with home robots, is a robot for defense specialized association.

Four wheeled robot "Fetch" equipped with sensors for landmine exploration. On the program, as there is a common point with the rumba in the sense that it runs throughout a certain area, feedback from household products also leads to an improvement in accuracy of landmine removal.

The wheel looks like this.


"PackBot" which was the most successful product for the defense industry of the company said that it can move around with infinite track (caterpillar) and use cameras and sensors provided at the top to conduct surrounding reconnaissance etc Product.

The camera looks something like this.

It was actually used even in search activities conducted after the terror of 9.11.

The model called "SUGV" below is a military model with packbot miniaturized.

It is being used to search for suspicious objects in Iraq and AfghanistanIEDThe following robots are destroyed by the damage of instant explosive device (instant explosion device).

It is blowing away as the body of the metal is torn away, and it makes me feel the bosom of the explosion.

Likewise, SUGV and controller that have been blown back in the middle of the mission and sent back.


Operate with the terminal as below.

A car-type robot developed with the goal of running to the destination with a human being.

Switching between automatic driving and driving by human beings can be done with a switch at the side of the driver's seat.

It can run automatically to the coordinates specified by GPS.

Looking from the front like this.

A sensor is installed in front and you can avoid obstacles automatically.

There is also a robot like a scapego that enters from the gap of the door and gathers indoor information as a prototype stage.

It will feel like this when growing and shrinking.

Furthermore, it was developed as an attachment for a pack bot, such as "a neck neck" like unit. By pushing out the three metal plates stored in the box while engaging, it is possible to stretch themselves to stand up to about 2.5 meters in height.

The "neck" part looks something like this.

The first machine of the "Rumba" series which has become the world best seller as a pioneer of home robot vacuum cleaners.

Many tests have been done, the body is full of scratches.

Since it is a prototype, surface fasteners are attached to the back so that various attachments can be attached and performance can be tested.

Prototype used for study of running pattern etc.

Because you need to access the infrastructure frequently, the motherboard is directly attached on the body.

Design mockup made with 3D printer.

The following rumbaes were born through the development process as described above.

Craig Henricksen, who is the product manager for products for home use, which the company described as "home robot" explained the latest rumba etc.

Rumba located in the high-end lineup as the sixth generation of the "Rumba" series "770The appearance of this is like this.


The strength of the same model is that it has a sensor that detects the amount of dust that has passed behind the brush that takes up the garbage, judging that the place sucking a lot of garbage is a dirty place and intensive cleaning It is programmed to do.

Not released in Japan "Scooba 390"It is a model that can sprinkle water on tile floor and wash dirt, suck dirty water and clean it.


When I remove the tank, it looks something like this

Pour cleaning water from the blue cap spout. After the cleaning is over, the dirty water is automatically sucked into the main body and returned to the tank, so if you open the gray cap and throw it away OK.

Compact model for use in limited space such as kitchen and bathroom "Scooba 230".

There is no function to suck dirty water, the structure of the back side is simple. Because brush can be exchanged with one touch, it can be used properly for bath, kitchen etc.

Robot for cleaning rain "Looj"Can be hung on pants and the like with a special hook. This is a function to climb up the ladder and free both hands when going rain.

With this feeling it is possible to clean the inside of the rain where fallen leaves have gathered. Although it is a product specialized for quite a purpose, cleaning in rainy places at high places is dangerous as well, so it is perfect as a place where robots play an active part.

You can use it directly as a remote control by removing the handle.

Robot for wiping flooring "Mint 5200".

When I flip it in, the clippers are pasted and stuck.

It's like this when you remove the clippers.

That is why the "COOL STUFF" room is exactly the iRobot museum's exhibition content, and the company has steadily dropped products steadily towards a wide range of genres ranging from defense industry to home robot while overcoming various failures I was able to see.

I went to the dining room

Because the stomach was empty at the end of the interview, the cafeteria where I came in was as follows.

A machine for heating is installed above so that the chicken sand does not cool down.

Since the salad bars are lining up, you can eat your favorite vegetables and eat it.

Get chicken and vegetable stir-fried.

Arrived at the cash register.

The thing taken with the salad bar will be posted on the weighing and pay the amount according to the weight.

Self-service dishes.

Chicken sand looks like this.

The meat was a bit spicy but it was deliciously delicious as it was slightly warm.

The price was $ 4.13 (about 338 yen) dollars for salad bar, $ 3.99 for chicken sand (around 327 yen), tax plus $ 8.69 (around 712 yen) plus taxes.

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