iRobot is best known for its robots used in the home, and now it’s looking to enter the classroom with a new acquisition. The company has announced that it has acquired Root Robotics, which sells a robot and platform that helps children learn how to code.
Root Robotics originated as a research project at Harvard University a couple of years ago, and its Robot already looks considerably like a Roomba — it’s a small, circular device that uses two wheels to drive around on a flat surface. It’s accompanied by an app that teaches children how to program the robot to do a variety of tasks, like drawing (the robot has a hold to place a marker in), creating music or games, and more.
iRobot says that the acquisition will help it “diversify its educational robot product offerings, further demonstrating its commitment to make robotic technology more accessible to educators, students and parents.” In doing so, it’s joining the space occupied by other similar companies, like Wonder Workshop, which manufactures Dash and Dot, and Learning Resource’s Botley, all of which teach coding and programming through their own apps.
Presumably, as Root allows iRobot to enter the education marketplace, it’ll be able to utilize its existing platforms for future products. Root Robot is now for sale on iRobot’s website, and retails for $199 for an individual robot, while a 30-pack for classrooms goes for just under $6,000. The company also sells an academic app ($60), and a whiteboard surface ($30) for it to operate on.