Little robot helpers found a place in our hearts and homes in 2002 when iRobot introduced the Roomba. This house-cleaning 'bot definitely made for an odd addition to the company's existing lineup of space exploration, minesweeping and tactical support devices. But beyond the novelty factor, the first Roomba model wasn't an immediate success for the company.
After heading back to the drawing board, iRobot released a vastly improved model in 2004 called the Roomba Discovery. It had enhanced cleaning powers, longer battery life and was significantly smarter. The Discovery may not have been a true replacement to traditional vacuuming, but it definitely justified its cost and earned a solid customer base. It was also affordable, costing only a couple hundred dollars compared to competitor products like the 2004 Electrolux Trilobite, which shot well past the $1,000 mark.