iRobot Readies Shop Vac
Sep 14, 2006
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The company behind the Roomba, the robotic vacuum cleaner, next week plans to start selling a new robot designed for vacuuming workshops and garages.

The iRobot Dirt Dog drives and navigates on its own like Roomba, but it's been enhanced to suck up things like wood chips and metal shavings, iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner said. The Dirt Dog, for instance, has counter-rotating bristle brushes that churn at 1,000 revolutions per minute, as well as a disposal bin that's 40-percent larger.

With the Dirt Dog, the company has pretty much covered the floor space in the typical home, she said. The Roomba cleans carpets; the Scooba cleans tile, wood and linoleum floors; and the Dirt Dog does the garages and basements.

Company sales, she added, have continued to climb. iRobot has shipped 2 million Roombas, the robot that went on sale in 2002.

"There is always initial skepticism. People ask, 'Does it work?'" she said. Still, consumer surveys show that most people detest vacuuming.

The Dirt Dog will cost $129.99 and go on sale Friday. Roombas start at $149, but remanufactured Roombas can be had for as little as $99. The Scooba goes for $349 and $299.

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