Posts tagged with "The Boston Globe"

IRobot to expand from Roomba vacuums and lawnmowers to household helpers with arms

January 13, 2020

Need a little more help around the house? Bedford, Massachusetts-based IRobot, maker of the disc-shaped Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, hopes to have a product on the market within five years that will have arms to load dishes, pick up clothes, or bring food from kitchen to table, The Boston Globe reports.

Indeed, prototypes of the arms have been produced in the told the Globe in an interview on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. IRobot’s main new hardware launch for 2020 will be its Terra lawnmower.

The company, which has been in business for 20 years, previously developed robotic-arm technology for its military business unit. The company sold that business in 2016 but kept the arm assets.

At the time, the company didn’t know how to adapt the technology for mainstream use, Angle said, but new advancements in computer vision and the ability for robots to map out a person’s home make such devices possible.

Other technology companies also are working on home robots, including Amazon and Samsung Electronics, according to the Globe—but so far they are focusing on devices with video conferencing and voice assistants, rather than the ability to actually perform physical tasks.

The trade war between the U.S. and China could put a damper on iRobot’s ambitions in the near term. Angle said it’s had a “negative impact” on business. “We are having to scale back R&D and profitability” targets, he said. The company started shipping its lower-cost Roomba vacuum cleaner robots out of Malaysia, instead of China, in November, he said.

Research contact: @iRobot

Pressley stuns political establishment with victory in Boston’s 7th District

September 6, 2018

On September 4, Ayanna Pressley joined the cadre of progressive Democratic women who are winning over voters nationwide. The first African-American woman elected to the Boston City Council in 2009, Pressley now has made history again—defeating Representative Michael Capuano (D-7th District), a ten-term incumbent heavily backed by the political establishment.

According to a September 4 report by Michael Levenson of The Boston Globe,with no Republican in the race, Pressley, 44, is poised to become the first woman of color from Massachusetts to serve in the U.S. House, in a storied district that, although reconfigured, was once represented by John F. Kennedy and the legendary Speaker of the House Thomas   P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr.

Pressley’s victory over Capuano, a 66-year-old down-the-line liberal first elected to Congress in 1998, “represents a generational, gender, and racial shift in Boston politics, and an upending of the wait-your-turn ethos that has pervaded the Democratic Party locally and statewide,” Levenson said.

Pressley won with an unofficial 63.8% of the votes. However, Capuano saw the loss coming—and reportedly capitulated with barely 13% of the votes counted. In conceding the election, the long-time politician said, ““I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but this is life, and this is OK. America is going to be OK. Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman and Massachusetts will be well-served.”

A now-viral video captured Pressley’s emotional reaction to the news that she had won.

 “It’s a new day,” Alfreda Harris, a veteran African-American activist and former Boston School Committee member from Roxbury, told the Globe. “Younger people are getting involved in politics, and, particularly, black women. It’s good for the country and it’s good for the state of Massachusetts.”

While Pressley and Capuano had agreed on most issues, she argued that it was “not a profile in courage” to have a progressive record in a deep-blue district. She vowed to bring “activist leadership” that reflected the take-it-to-the-streets mood of voters who are marching for gun control, immigrant rights, and women’s rights in the Trump era.

With her refrain, “The people closest to the pain should be closest to the power,” she evoked the #MeToo movement and cemented her case with the voters.

Despite broad support from major political figures, Capuano was unable to secure endorsements from the state’s two US senators, Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, who remained publicly neutral. Attorney General Maura T. Healey backed Pressley.