What is a Roomba Vacuum & When was the Roomba Invented?

Have you heard about the Roomba? Do you have any plans of buying this type of robot vacuum (robovac)? Then you might be interested in learning about its background and history. You might even be intrigued to know which is the best Roomba model today.

The Roomba has created a buzz with its purported ability to efficiently vacuum floors. It’s something that can help in your household, especially if you find cleaning the hardwood floor a burdensome task. In this article, you will learn more about this awesome robovac model.

What is a Roomba?

The Roomba is a series of robot vacuum cleaners. Like a traditional vacuum cleaner, it has spinning brushes and a vacuum to pick up dirt. But unlike any vacuum cleaner, Roomba has sensors allowing it to independently move around a room.

What sets a Roomba apart from other vacuum cleaners is its navigation system. It determines the Roomba’s actions, allowing the robot to make decisions for itself and practically eliminating the need for human intervention.

In short, you can trust a Roomba to do its job without your supervision. It can vacuum the upper floors without it falling down the stairs. This robot can clean right up to the edge of a step without falling over.

And as you will learn later in this article, owning and using a Roomba has plenty of benefits especially to someone too busy to sweep and clean the floors.

 When was the Roomba invented?

What is a Roomba
When was the Roomba invented

 You might think that the Roomba is a new product, but you’d be surprised to learn that it’s been around for nearly 20 years!

The first Roomba was introduced in 2002 by a firm called iRobot. The said firm was founded in 1990 by three roboticists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—Colin Angle, Rodney Brooks, and Helen Griener.

Interestingly, Griener admits that one of her inspirations in creating the Roomba was the heroic R2-D2 of the popular “Star Wars” movie.   Today, Griener and her colleagues lead the company employing more than 400 professionals. The company also develops robots for the US military.

The original Roomba measured 3 inches x 13.5 inches. It had the familiar round puck design which would become the shape of most Roomba models until the introduction of the latest Roomba, the Roomba S+9.

Curiously, the Roomba is not the first robovac in the market.  The Electrolux Tribobite has that distinction, having been released in 2001. But it can’t be argued that the Roomba was far more successful. More than a million units were sold two years after the Roomba was introduced.

What are the benefits of using a Roomba?

There are many advantages to using a Roomba. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that it can let you save time and energy in cleaning the house.  Once turned on, the Roomba can do all the work for you. In short, you don’t need to babysit the Roomba.

The Roomba has different onboard sensors that enable it to map out a room. There is an infrared sensor mounted on top of the device which detects walls and furniture. This allows the Roomba to slow down when it gets near obstacles.

The bumper is also touch-sensitive and causes the unit to stop when it hits things. Infrared sensors are also mounted underneath the Roomba. This guides the unit in detecting cliffs like stairs and steep drops, which prevents it from falling off.

Older Roomba models required users to unload the dustbin manually once it has reached full capacity. The newest versions, though, are so smart that these can unload dirty bins without human intervention.

Check out the Roomba i7+ in this YouTube video.

As you can see, this Roomba has an automatic dirt disposal feature. At the end of a clean, Roomba returns to its charging station with an overhanging waste bin where dust and debris collected are sucked out and neatly deposited.

Newer Roomba models are also capable of detecting when to recharge themselves.  In case it runs out of energy halfway through its cleaning tour, the Roomba will get itself back to its home base to recharge. This YouTube video shows a Roomba 770 recharging by itself.

Another benefit is that the Roomba is easy to use. You don’t need to be a tech-savvy individual to operate it.  You simply carry the Roomba to the room that needs to be cleaned and press the “Clean” button on the unit to start the cleaning program.

Newer versions of the Roomba can be operated via an app on your smartphone or tablet. Using the app, you can set a schedule of cleaning jobs. You can also control which rooms in your house will be cleaned by the Roomba.

But you may wonder— is a Roomba good enough to clean a dirty floor?

The answer is yes! Roomba is not only a smart robovac but also effective and efficient in cleaning carpets and floors. It is equipped with a Dirt Detection feature which senses dirt and pushes it to spend more time in cleaning the area.

It also has a three-stage cleaning system which delivers more air power compared with other vacuum cleaners. Roomba units also have multiple brushes that can thoroughly clean floors. One brush loosens dirt while the others move in opposite directions to extract and suck it in.

Now as for the best Roomba model, the i7+ may very well be it. Aside from being the first and only Roomba to empty its own bin, this robovac is backed by a responsive app. With the app, you can direct which part of the house you’d like the Roomba to clean.

Aside from scheduling cleaning jobs, you can also use the app to determine the cleaning history of the Roomba i7+. It also gives you step-by-step instructions on how to  clean the device itself.


To summarize, the Roomba is a series of robovac units that have been in the market since 2002. Designed, manufactured, and sold by iRobot, Roomba is arguably the most popular robovac model in the world.

There have been many iterations of the Roomba but the Roomba i7+ may very well be the best. This is the robovac model which can clean your house of dust, debris, and pet hair without you lifting a finger.