i3 - July/August 2018 - 9

new way by thinking about what we need
our homes to do to enable people to live in
them longer with robotic technology. It is a
step by step mission, and we don't have to
do it all by ourselves.

Q What is needed for the smart home
to work?
A A smart home is a home that programs
itself, that updates itself, and does the right
thing automatically. This is possible, but
there is a significant missing element today.
Devices in our home don't know where
anything is. If you walk into a room and the
lights are supposed to turn on, the heating
is supposed to adjust itself and that show
on TV is supposed to follow you when you
move to another room - that is completely
dependent on the understanding of what is
where, and where the people are within the
home. Because robots move around and
carry sensors, they have an important role in
helping the home understand itself.

Q

Tech

How did you
develop the
Roomba?

A The algorithms that ran on the original
Roombas, to ensure that they cleaned
everywhere in a room, came from minehunting algorithms for the Department of
Defense. The Roomba happened in year 12
of iRobot. It was a long journey. Last year,
the number one selling vacuum cleaner in
the U.S. was a Roomba.

Q How do voice assistants play into this?
A They're a part of the solution. We have
been surprised since we integrated Roomba
with Google Home and Amazon Alexa,
how many people say, "Roomba, clean the
house," as opposed to pulling out their cell
phone and pushing start. Voice is a very
natural way to interact with your house, but
without the context of where the things are,
voice is limited in what it can do. As a house
becomes more spatially aware of itself,
there is more of a payoff to the consumer
to have a connected device because it is
more useable. With spatial understanding,
we'll see more value, and the promise of the
smart home will be fulfilled.

Q What did you mean about designing a
home inside out?
A When people think about the smart
home, it is a building into which we put
our stuff, and then we use our smartphone
to turn it on and off. Instead, think of the
home as the system. The home has rooms,
and the rooms have things in them. An AI
understands where the people are, what
they want to have happen, what sensors
need to be detected, and what can be done
physically to detect that. It can open and
close windows, it can adjust the temperature and turn on the heater and AC units,
so the idea is that the home is the system.
Robots are among the most complex
electromechanical physical devices, and
C TA . t e c h / i 3

by applying the same logic and technology
that we use to design a robot, we can look
at the smart home and say this is not an
incredibly hard intractable problem. The
home is a robot, so we need sensors, AI,
actuators and software to make it so.

around STEM education. Fifty percent of the
employees at iRobot volunteer their time
to go into schools, bring robots and inspire
students to study the hard sciences. But
we need to go deeper, take that spark of
innovation and allow it to grow into a love
of science. When people ask me for career
advice, I say teach your children to code.
Follow your passion but learn to code.

Q What do you see for the future
of iRobot?

A As iRobot has grown up, it has been
exciting to grow as its founder, and go
from someone who liked building robots to
building a company that builds robots and
now an industry that is changing the world.
Twenty-eight years in, I feel like we are just
getting started on what the opportunity
truly is for robots in our lives. Robotics is a
life's work and a huge undertaking. iRobot
spent more than $100 million last year on
research and development, and we have
increased that this year. With this, the
opportunity that exists for robotics and the
central role they will play in people's lives is
bright. I am super excited that this is what I
get to do every day.

Q How can you ensure data is secure?
A It starts with the company taking data
security seriously. And a commitment that
we are going to treat data collected by
the robot in a way that is both transparent
and puts the customer first. We design our
products from the circuit board up with
data security in mind. Privacy is meaningless if there is no data security. We treat
your data as your property. We may give
you options of things that you can do with
your data that would be of value, but you
are in control. Given the role that we expect
to play in the home, it is very important
that iRobot and our brand is synonymous
with a strong commitment to doing the
right thing so that we maintain a trusting
relationship with our customers.

Q How do you get kids interested
in STEM?

A Education is another passion of mine. At
iRobot, our community service initiative is
JULY/AUGUST 2018

9


http://www.CTA.tech

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - July/August 2018

Contents
i3 - July/August 2018 - Cover1
i3 - July/August 2018 - Cover2
i3 - July/August 2018 - Contents
i3 - July/August 2018 - 2
i3 - July/August 2018 - 3
i3 - July/August 2018 - 4
i3 - July/August 2018 - 5
i3 - July/August 2018 - 6
i3 - July/August 2018 - 7
i3 - July/August 2018 - 8
i3 - July/August 2018 - 9
i3 - July/August 2018 - 10
i3 - July/August 2018 - 11
i3 - July/August 2018 - 12
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i3 - July/August 2018 - Cover3
i3 - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20180304
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20160304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20160506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20160708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20170506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20170304
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