Knowledge@Wharton has an interview with Helen Greiner of iRobot, maker of the Roomba and the new Scooba: Is There a Robot in Your Future? Helen Greiner Thinks So - Knowledge@Wharton:
Our goal at iRobot is to build practical and affordable robot systems. We are not there to do demonstrations of technology. We are not there to talk about stuff that's going to happen 50 years from now in robots -- although that's going to be extremely exciting. We really concentrate on practical and affordable systems for today.
Greiner clearly has a vision for the future of robots-as-appliances. They aren't the androids that dream of electric sheep, but they are useful nonetheless. Her tone in the interview reflects the fascination with technology as well as the familiarity with which people treat their Rombas. Hers is called "Arnold."
By the way, my wife wants the rights to iMow, the lawn mowing version of the Roomba. Unfortunately, Toro already have a product with that name. (At least they used to -- you can't find it from their home page.)