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iRobots Sell, But Who's Buying?

irobots_shelf.JPGSomeone must be using them, I guess. Otherwise, why would Naval Sea Systems Command buy another $26 million worth of iRobot's explosive-disposal machines? But I've never met a bomb squad technician who actually bothered with one of the things. Too flimsy, they all say. Too hard to operate.The Baghdad Bomb Squad used their iRobots to decorate their shop. Not far away, at the U.S. military's central robot depot for Iraq, the iRobots sat on shelves, serenely gathering dust, while Foster-Miller's Talon robots would come back, scarred and in pieces, after being chewed up by a bomb.Foster-Miller, though, doesn't have the PR megaphone that iRobot does. It doesn't have a cute, little household machine to go along with its battlefield models. And when you go to military trade shows, you only see Foster-Miller sporadically. iRobot always seems to have a booth. Maybe there's a connection, somewhere in there, to that big sale?(Big ups: JQP)UPDATE 1:50 PM: Of course. I shoulda figured. "Sen. John Kerry Visits iRobot to Congratulate Company on $26 Million U.S. Navy Contract."

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