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iRobot Out With the Scoobz

Techstination feature for Thursday, November 17, 2005

After selling more than 1 and a half million Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners….what's next for iRobot? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's a company with its roots at MIT….which has not only been making the Roomba…but has been building robots used by the military to disarm explosives in Iraq. Now iRobot is taking its technology into the kitchen with the Scooba robot. Chief Executive Colin Angle…

"Well the Scooba is a wet cleaning robot. So it will clean your kitchen. It'll scrub your floors. What it does is .. you load it up with some cleaning fluid and it puts that cleaning fluid down…scrubs it into the floor and then vacuums up the dirty fluid behind the robot, leaving a clean and dry floor. It's truly a better process in mopping. Because if you imagine mopping, most of the time you're pushing dirty water around the floor. So Scooba is both a better process and you don't have to do it. You just push a button and leave and let it work."

The company is selling Scooba on its Web site now for 399 dollars. It will arrive in stores next year. For the Roomba robots…iRobot now sells a scheduler kit…

"It adds a functionality to the Roomba so that it will turn itself on."

The price…less than some traditional vacuums…. About 330 dollars. iRobot does have competition. Electrolux is selling a robot vacuum cleaner…but its priced at more than 13 hundred dollars. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.