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Colin Angle

The CEO of iRobot imagines a smarter smart home

Colin AngleSuzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

When Colin Angle was 9 or 10 years old, his mother asked him to bring her a glass of milk from the TV room to the kitchen.

“I said, ‘sure, mom,’” he recalls. But for a kid who loved building contraptions, “carrying the glass of milk to the kitchen would have been inconceivable.”

So instead of a five-second stroll from one room to the next, Angle dove into a weekend-long project involving Lego and Erector sets — ultimately producing a robotic train that could deliver the dairy.

Years later, the co-founder and chief executive of Bedford-based iRobot is still obsessed with the idea of a more automated home.


The company’s signature product is the Roomba, a robotic vacuum that can glide around the house, suck up the dust and debris, and deposit it in a bag. The company also sells robot mops. And later this year, Angle says, a new robot lawn mower should be widely available.

Still, the iRobot chief isn’t satisfied with the state of the smart home. There are too many disconnected products, he says, with no “organizing intelligence.” And the technology hasn’t yet reached its highest purpose.

Ultimately, Angle says, he wants iRobot to do more to help older and disabled people live independently — assisting with daily tasks like, say, carrying a glass of milk from the kitchen to the TV room.

David Scharfenberg can be reached at david.scharfenberg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dscharfGlobe.