Helen Greiner’s Robots

Last night I was at the 2006 New Hampshire High Tech Entrepreneur of the Year of the Awards Banquet. Bill Rogers (my boss) was one of five finalists for the award. The highlight of the evening was a presentation given by Helen Greiner, the co-founder of iRobot (of Roomba fame). She stressed something I agree with, the importance for technology companies to facilitate open developer ecosystems around products. She pointed to a number of interesting things coming from their Roomba API, like Roomba Cockfights, Frogger, and pointed to work by NASA JPL. She also played a hilarious Saturday Night Live clip I hadn’t seen before, featuring a product called the Woomba (a little robot that cleans your lady parts).

One of her robots navigated the room autonomously, managing to climb stairs and steering clear of people. It handed a bag containing the award to New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, who seemed amused and a little unsure of it as he took the award before announcing the winners.