The hands-free robot vacuum was an unlikely candidate to sweep the nation when it launched in 2002, but savvy marketing made the little round picker-upper a hit. Manufacturer iRobot made a point to tout its history producing robots for the U.S. Army, and that military pedigree, in addition to the Roomba's self-cleaning modus operandi, intrigued consumers. "They reached the influencers very well," said Hall. "Then they lowered the prices from there to reach the masses."
A Roomba may take a while longer to clean than the average person with a vacuum (we still can't produce robots as smart as your average vacuum operator), but people just love having clean rugs when they came home. More recently, iRobot introduced the Scooba, which washes floors.