The US military might seem like an endless cash train for contractors, but it's not always so. Vacuum bot maker iRobot has sold off its defense and security division in order to focus on its core Roomba business. If you were unaware that iRobot even made military toys, the company actually got its start building military hardware for the likes of DARPA as far back as 1998. At one point, it was awarded a $286 million military contract to produce robots that can detect and disarm bombs and do other risky chores.
The reason? There just wasn't enough money in it. According to its financial statements, iRobot raked in around 15 times more money with Roomba vacs than military robots. That doesn't mean its robots will have nothing to do. Much as Google is doing with Boston Dynamics, the new company will no doubt continue to produce existing models like the tossable 110 FirstLook, radiation-shrugging 510 PackBot and the 710 Kobra (below), which can reach up to eleven feet and carry 150 pounds. Hopefully they'll start building new ones, too, because we like writing about robots least as much as you like reading about them.