Yesterday iRobot co-founder and chairman Helen Greiner got the media and investors playing a game of 20 questions when she revealed that her company had two new consumer robots that it planned to introduce before the holiday season. When each person began asking questions like “Is it a new vacuum cleaner robot?” or “Will it have an arm to grab things?” Greiner quickly turned down the volume and refused to answer this latest version of animal/vegetable/mineral. “We want to have a real launch of any product we put out,” Greiner told the attendees. “We are going to launch them from our Web space, and they are not floor-cleaning robots. They are different types of robots with mechanical features.”
A quick look at the company’s website showed that they hadn’t decided to lift the veil of mystery surrounding the two new additions to the iRobot family which only serves to whet everyone’s interest even more. While we’re hoping that the iRobot team could surprise everyone by taking a huge technological leap forward and unveiling R2-D2 we’re trying to keep our pipe dreams more down to earth and thinking about what kind of other manual chores there are for a robot to do that we don’t want to do ourselves. Cooking your dinner? Sure, but we can’t see an iRobot having the smarts to figure out how to scan what’s in your refrigerator. How about walking your dog? Cutting your grass? Watering your flowers? Switching on lights/TV/radio in your home while you’re away? The mind boggles at the possibilities.