Roomba Maker Actually a Big-Time Defense Contractor

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 1:03 PM CST

(Newser) – It’s common knowledge that the Defense Department is the progenitor of modern conveniences like the Internet. But would you, for a minute, think it has a $286 million contract with the company that makes your Roomba automated vacuum? That fact surprised Owen Thomas, who writes about it on Valleywag, and also happened to watch the Daily Show segment that divulges the shocking information.

Roomba maker iRobot also crafts a bomb-sniffing automaton called the PackBot that it sells to the Army. The Daily Show exposé had some hilarious moments: “Watch the iRobot employee cringe, visibly,” Thomas writes, as “Samantha Bee goofs around with one.” Apparently, “the iRobot executives who approved this headquarters tour are too intellectually refined to watch anything as base as television.”