iRobot’s Acquisition Of Root Robotics: Details You Should Know About

By Noah Long ● Updated June 30, 2019
  • Roomba maker iRobot recently announced that it acquired Root Robotics. These are the details behind the deal.

iRobot, the company that is known for consumer robots like the Roomba series of vacuums, announced the recent addition of the Root coding robot — which is being introduced through the acquisition of a company called Root Robotics. Root was built with technology initially developed by a founding group within the Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

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Root Robotics is essentially a fun and easy-to-use educational robot that teaches coding and 21st-century problem-solving skills to children as young as four years old.

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The acquisition supports iRobot’s plans to diversify its educational robot product offerings and further demonstrate its commitment to making robotic technology more accessible to educators, students, and parents.

The Root coding robot is a mobile platform that runs on two wheels. And the robot operates on flat surfaces while at home such as tables, floors, countertops, and vertical surfaces in a classroom like a magnetic whiteboard.

“The acquisition of Root Robotics allows iRobot to broaden the impact of its STEM efforts with a commercially available, educational robotic platform already being used by educators, students and parents,” said iRobot chairman and CEO Colin Angle. “Root also helps increase the reach of iRobot’s educational robot line by offering a proven system for people of all ages, including students in elementary school.”

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When it is paired with its companion mobile app, users can instruct Root to draw artwork, scan colors, play music, climb whiteboard walls, and respond to touch/sound. And it uses 3 levels of coding language from simple graphical blocks for young children to full-text coding for more advanced users.

“The Root coding robot is an incredibly powerful tool for learning to code because it intuitively scales to users’ abilities,” added Root Robotics co-founder Zee Dubrovsky — who will now become general manager of Educational Robots at iRobot. “A four-year-old can begin coding Root using simple pictures and symbols that translate to robot actions. Once a child has mastered graphical coding, they can seamlessly toggle to the next two levels, which introduce hybrid coding, followed by full-text coding. This scalable approach is what has been missing from other educational coding robots.”

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The acquisition of Root Robotics is not expected to contribute materially to iRobot’s 2019 financial performance. And the terms of the deal were undisclosed. You can buy the Root coding robot for $199 now at root.irobot.com.