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One Step Closer To The Robot Revolution

Rodney Brooks of iRobot is leaving the company to found his own robotics company.

Among iRobot's accomplishments is the creation of the series of Roomba vacuum cleaners and other cleaning robots for consumers. iRobot also just yesterday landed a $200 million contract with the U.S. Army to create a series of military robots, according to a statement on the iRobot Web site.

Brooks will still remain a member of iRobot's board, however. Brooks will also take a leave of absence from his position as Panasonic Professor of Robotics in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at MIT.

"Just as computers we interact with personally (e.g., desktops, laptops, PDAs, cellphones) transformed our lives over the last 25 years, so, too, will robots transform our lives over the coming 25," said Brooks in a recent issue of MIT news.

Heartland Robotics, based in Cambridge, Mass., will focus on the manufacture of industrial worker robots.

"I want to effect a powerful evolution in the world's labor markets, and my current focus is to develop low-cost robots that will empower American workers," Brooks said in a statement released on his personal Web site.

Meanwhile, the Heartland Robotics Web site currently consists of only one Web page.

"Heartland Robotics is combining the power of computation -- embodied in robots -- and the extraordinary intelligence of the American workforce, to rehumanize and revitalize manufacturing," says a statement on the company's Web page. Aside from a front page with this statement, interested consumers can sign up for the company mailing list or inquire about a list of available jobs.

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