Joe Jones: Roomba inventor. Roboticist. Vindicated pioneer.

 Image: Joe Jones In 1988, when Joe Jones was researching small robots at the MIT AI Lab (now CSAIL), he had an interesting idea. “I got excited about the really small, reactive robots, and thought: you can do a lot with this. You could build a robot that could clean your floors.” Jones began constructing LEGO versions of a floor-cleaning robot he called the “Rug Warrior,” and entered it into the Robot Olympics. Three years later, when he started working at Denning Mobile Robotics, he brought the idea with him. Together with his colleague Jack Shimek, a mechanical engineer, Jones developed the proof of concept. Then they demonstrated their idea of RoboBroom to the whole company­. “We thought: ‘This is going to take off!'” he said/ Ten days later, they…

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