From R2-D2 to practical robots

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From R2-D2 to practical robots.

The notion of robots in everyday life was long the stuff of The Jetsons and Star Wars. But Colin Angle, 47; Rodney Brooks, 59; and Helen Greiner, 46, brought such inventions into real life through their company, iRobot. Its Roomba vacuum cleaner is well known, but other inventions have graver functions: PackBot, a robot used by the military to defuse bombs in Afghanistan, and RP-VITA, used by doctors to remotely diagnose and treat patients. Once funded with credit cards and savings, iRobot is now profitable: It generated $487 million in revenue and $27 million in earnings last year. The founders’ story…


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