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Can iRobot Clean Up With Roomba?

Techstination feature for Monday, September 23, 2002

They've hit stores... but they're hard to come by. Roomba the robotic vacuum. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's a two hundred dollar six pound circular device... .built by Massachusetts based iRobot... .

"It's really very stunning for us, because ever since we started the company and I would say, Hi, I'm Colin from a robot company I'd get asked... so when are you going to clean my floors? And finally we have an answer."

iRobot CEO Colin Angle. This is the same private company that built a Packbot robot for the military that has been used to safely search caves in Afghanistan. The Roomba... .makes the rounds cleaning carpets or hardwood floors... ..and can run for about an hour and a half on its rechargeable battery. That kind of time may be needed...

"It takes about five times as long for this robot to go over a room than it would for your upright to clean a room because Roomba's going over the room multiple times. But, of course the time really isn't so important because you're not doing it."

iRobot is selling the so called Intelligent FloorVac... from its Web site... and from gadget stores like Brookstone, The Sharper Image and Hammacher Schlemmer. But good luck finding one... .

"We made all the inventory we could afford and the demand has exceeded our wildest dreams."

After years of research... Angle hopes his company will really clean up. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.