I Married iRobot

You can do worse than hooking up with iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT  ) . Its Roomba vacuums the carpet. Its Scooba mops the floor. Its PackBot protects you. Sure, the company has never mastered a cooking robot, but its gadgetry also doesn't hog the remote control, or argue over whether the toilet seat should be up or down.

It's an ideal roommate, though somewhat less of a soulmate, should you have, uh, carnal intentions. Then again, if your mind is already in the gutter, so is iRobot! During yesterday's DigitalLife keynote address, CEO Colin Angle introduced a pair of new product lines that will make homes a little more productive, including a robotic gutter cleaner.

iRobot's Looj is a long, narrow automaton that can unclutter straight lines of your roof gutter. It won't go all the way around your home, but it definitely frees up the wear, tear, and potential peril of going up and down a ladder to clean smaller stretches at a time.

The second robot -- the ConnectR -- is a little more mind-blowing. Picture a robot that's small and round like the Roomba but sports a fully-tilting video camera. Through a home's Wi-Fi network, a friend or family member can communicate with those in the home with VOIP-quality video and two-way voice.

The applications are mind-boggling. For families where one of the parents is often on the road, it's a way to ease the guilt as you rove around the home. Going out and want to keep closer tabs on the babysitter? Have an elderly parent whom you want to keep an eye on? Come from a military family, and have a loved one deployed overseas?

Wi-Fi communication devices aren't new. However, this is more than just firing up a Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI  ) webcam, or getting Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) flicks delivered to your TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) , or saving your minutes on an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone. The ConnectR is a multipurpose appliance that's bound to catch on, despite its lofty $500 price tag.

Maybe you won't be taking a walk down the matrimonial aisle with an iRobot creation anytime soon. Check your bridal registry, though. You'll be seeing more iRobot items to check off in the future.


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