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SBIR-STTR Success: iRobot
While most people associate iRobot with a hugely successful line of robotic vacuums used for the home, the company has deep roots with the Department of Defense, originally utilizing the SBIR program to develop robots for the battlefield. iRobot designed and developed throwable robots, complete with cameras and arms, that are used for gathering intelligence and bomb disposal, and were a major part of America’s war effort in Iraq.
In 2016, iRobot decided to focus solely on its consumer robotic technologies, thanks largely to the success of its Roomba line of vacuums for the home. The company sold its entire defense division for $45 million to Arlington Capital Partners of northern Virginia. The new company, which is set to be renamed, will be the largest independent provider of ground-based robots to the U.S. Department of Defense, with a significant and growing global presence in the security, industrial and international defense markets.
As for the company’s core division of home robots, revenues for 2017 are expected to reach $785 million. iRobot provides three main products – 1) The Roomba®, a vacuum robot with four different models available ranging in price from $375-900; 2) The Braava®, a mopping robot with two models ranging from $200-300; and 3) the Mirra®, the newest addition to the lineup, which is a pool cleaning robot designed to take the manual labor out of maintaining a pool, available for $800.
iRobot is committed to building a future for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in the United States. The company’s outreach program, named iRobot STEM, brings the exciting and educational world of robots into the classroom with online resources, classroom visits, demonstrations and more.