September 18, 2002
Takeo Kanade, U.A. and Helen Whitaker Professor of CS and Robotics; Professor of ECE, was quoted in the Boston Times' article, "Somerville Firm Thinks Robot Will Really Clean Up," on how the consumer market may respond to Somerville-based iRobot Corporation's new automated floor cleaner, Roomba. The six pound battery-powered disk can dust and vacuum carpets and floors. Kanade considered whether the user's having to remove objects from Roomba's path would be a stumbling block to their buying the $200 product.
"The customers must have the right expectation and balance between the cost and utility," said Kanade. "People's expectations tend to be much higher than what you think." He continued, "In order for the robotics field to move on, it must find a mass-market robotics application," Kanade added, "That's the key."