It is well known that Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation iRobot
Given last week's news that terrorists were planning to use liquids to construct bombs powerful enough to take down jetliners, one might naturally assume that I sniff a new market for iRobot's products in airports all around the world. While this is true, it's not the main reason why I am bullish on the company's long-term prospects.
This past weekend, I read an interview with iRobot CEO Colin Angle in TheNew York Times, and I was reminded of what attracted me to the company in the first place -- and it had little to do with military and homeland security-related functions. Rather, I liked the company's growth prospects because of its potential to help wage a battle against another front on the war on freedom -- namely, the freedom of elderly individuals to live independently.
It's a well known fact that the first of America's baby boomers turned 60 this year. It's also well-documented that this aging cohort is the most affluent generation in history. When these two facts are combined, one of the things these seniors will most seek to use this wealth for (in addition to protecting their health) is maintain their independence.
But as many of us with aging parents know, this will be no easy task. That's where iRobot comes into play. The company will not be able to prevent any ailments, but it can help people maintain their current situations for longer periods of time.
For instance, the company's robotic vacuum cleaner, Roomba, and its robotic floor scrubber, Scooba, which are now available through Target
In the not-too-distant future, robots which cut the lawn and shovel the snow will become good enough and cheap enough to be employed in growing numbers. In the longer term, as advances in computer and sensing technology continue to improve, it's not difficult to imagine a situation in which seniors around the world are using iRobot's technology to do everything from walking their pets and washing their windows to folding laundry.
To be sure, such pedestrian advances pale in comparison to the value these robots provide when they save the life of a soldier from a roadside bomb, but they're a valuable service nevertheless. And it is my belief that if iRobot can become a powerful ally for aging boomers who are seeking to stay in their homes longer, it will also become a profitable ally for investors who believe in the promise of its robotic technology.
Interested in reading other Foolish stories about robots?
Fool contributor Jack Uldrich is a long-time fan of The Jetsons' Rosie the Robot, but doesn't yet own a Roomba or Scooba. He is, however, an investor in iRobot. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.