The Morning After: Amazon buys the company behind Roomba robot vacuums

Amazon made a $1.7 billion bid for iRobot, the company that makes Roomba robot vacuums, floor mops, and other household robots. The deal will retain Colin Angle as CEO of iRobot but is still subject to regulatory and iRobot shareholder approval.

iRobot has a fascinating origin story. Founded in 1990 by MIT researchers, the company initially focused on military robots like PackBot. It marked a major turning point in 2002 when it introduced the first Roomba – the debut Robovac, which sold a million units by 2004. The company eventually withdrew from the military business in 2016.

There are now many iRobot competitors including Anker’s Eufy brand, Neato, Shark and even Dyson. But with the power of Amazon, iRobot should be able to dominate. Just think of the Prime Day deals! Some of Amazon’s own robots often already look like Roomba – like its first fully autonomous warehouse robot, .

— Mat Smith

The Biggest Stories You May Have Missed

Looks like a planet to me.

On July 31, Étienne Klein, the director of France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, shared an image of Proxima Centauri, the closest known star to the Sun, which he claimed the JWST had captured. “It was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope,” Klein told his more than 91,000 Twitter followers. “This level of detail… A new world is revealed every day.”

Except that it was actually a photo of a slice of chorizo ​​against a black background. “In light of certain comments, I feel compelled to point out that this tweet, which allegedly shows an image of Proxima Centauri, was a joke,” he said . Klein added that he posted the image to educate the public about the threat of fake news.

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Harder than expected, but…



Samsung has made great strides with its foldable phones, paving the way for innovative (though sometimes quite expensive) alternatives to the typical glass brick. On the advent of the company’s fourth generation of foldable devices, which will likely include both, Engadget’s Sam Rutherford shares his own Z Fold 3 foldable purchase last year. Phones are becoming more rugged, but this foldable display innovation is derailed by bubbles under the screen protector after about half a year.

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You can use the gamepads individually or as a matched pair.

Valve is finally adding Steam support for the console’s controllers. In an announcement spotted by PC gamer, the company said the latest Steam beta adds Joy-Cons support. With the new software, it is possible to use Joy-Cons either individually or as part of a matching pair to play. If you want to try the feature, you need to sign up for the Steam beta. You’ll need either a Bluetooth adapter or a motherboard with Bluetooth connectivity to use your Joy-Cons with Steam since there’s no way to connect a cable to the Switch controllers.

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The company claims to operate the first fully driverless service in China.

Baidu is licensed to operate a fully driverless robotaxi service in China. It is the first company in the country to receive such permits. Back in April, Baidu was approved to operate an autonomous taxi service in Beijing as long as a human driver sits in the driver’s or passenger’s seat. Now it can offer a service where the only occupants of the car are passengers. There are some restrictions on permits. Driverless Apollo Go vehicles can only roam certain zones in Wuhan and Chongqing during daylight hours. In Wuhan alone, however, it is a good 13 square kilometers.

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