Friday, December 01, 2006

Roomba gets tough

One of my son's fascinations since he was three years old (perhaps even earlier) has been the "Roomba", the round, automatic vacuum cleaner that you may see at The Sharper Image, Home Depot, and various other stores. We actually bought one once, and quickly ran the thing into the ground. "Roomba goes round and round!" was frequently heard as our son mastered which buttons to press until, mercifully, the battery died.

I was amused today to read this article stating that the Roomba-making company, iRobot, is also the main manufacturer of the PackBot EOD, a robot to be used by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts in Iraq and Afghanistan to counter IEDs.

The PackBot looks quite a bit more tough than its floor-sweeping (or the floor-mopping Scooba variant) counterpart, and a little bit more fun to play with. One of my EWO colleagues actually gets to work with these robots in his "real job" back home. I envy him. Too bad the pricetag for this particular iRobot is a bit much for a Christmas gift for my son. He'll have to settle for something more practical.

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