I just noticed in FreshPatents that iRobot is patenting a "Compact Autonomous Coverage Robot", which appears to be Roomba-ish vacuum device with a flat front that can better clear in corners. Good thing, too, as the Panasonic cleaner is touted as being able to clean in corners due to its wedge-shaped design. Nice to see iRobot is looking to expand its robotic cleaning line even further.
Under the program, iRobot will make five to ten investments per year in seed to Series A companies. The size of the company’s investments would range from $100,000 to $2 million with an expected median investment size of $200,000, Angle said.
One investor familiar with the company’s plans said at that level, the firm would be looking at a fund size of roughly $25 million (using some back of the napkin math)
“There’s a lot going on in the robotics space and really the best way to understand it is to participate in it.,” says Angle. “By establishing the venture fund we’re able to go out and get to know emerging companies that are building robots and robot-related technologies and get involved in these companies.”
For more, see http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/23/the-dawn-of-our-robot-overlords-inches-closer-as-irobot-starts-vc-shop/
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich interviewed iRobot CEO Colin Angle on-stage on 1-11-2015 at the Consumer Electronics Show, and Colin Angle was present (from Boston) through iRobot's Ava 500 Telepresence Robot!!! See http://www.nasdaq.com/article/ces-2015-robot-butlers-and-touch-less-tablets-from-irobot-and-intel-cm431401 for the actual video of the interview!!!
I have been following iRobot for years, and I currently own 900 shares. The company's management team has not seemed to dwell, or even focus, on share price, but rather focuses on improving their products and (slowly) developing new ones. The shares will bounce up when there is any positive news that investors deem is meaningful to earnings. I would love to see a more frequent roll-out of new products, but the iRobot team has, for several years, shown tremendous patience in doing so (in earlier years they rolled out more products, including several failures, and I suspect that they don't want to repeat that). There are several great developments at the company that, while not yet incorporated into their product-line, could add tremendous value in the future. But the company won't put out press releases about these developments, you'll have to find them for yourself in the company's patent filings. I am excited about 2014 patent filings in the areas of VSLAM navigation, robotic hands, lawn-mowing, communication and mobility. Also, don't forget that the RP-Vita and AVA 500 are new products that are, themselves, potentially game-changing, and certainly the first generation of products that will evolve and improve over time. Hang in there! With this company, IMHO, good things will come to those who wait.
With hands, iRobot's robots will be able to open and close doors, push (elevator) buttons, secure and deliver objects, and generally provide more help in homes, offices, hospitals, the battlefield, and wherever else they are put to work. Future generations of the Ava 500, RP-Vita and not-yet-available robots will be increasingly capable of doing more and more activities, making them more and more useful and more and more marketable. iRobot owns critical patents in robotic hands / graspers. I am excited about iRobot's present and look forward to its future!
This robotic hand invention will help advance iRobot's robot revolution - great article about the hand's development at http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/humanoids/inexpensive-durable-plastic-hands-let-robots-get-a-grip