The Morning After: Amazon buys the company behind Roomba robot vacuums

Amazon did a $1.7 billion bid for iRobot, the company that makes Roomba vacuum cleaners, mops and other home robots. The deal will keep Colin Angle as iRobot’s CEO, but it still depends on approval from regulators and iRobot shareholders.

iRobot has an intriguing origin story. Founded in 1990 by MIT researchers, the company initially focused on military robots like PackBot. It marked a major turning point in 2002 when it introduced the first Roomba: the first robovac racked up sales of one million units in 2004. The company finally pulled out of the military business in 2016.

There are now plenty of rivals to iRobot, including Anker’s Eufy brand, Neato, Shark, and even Dyson. But with the power of Amazon, iRobot should be able to dominate. Just think of the Prime Day deals! Some of Amazon’s own robots often already resemble Roombas, like its first fully autonomous warehouse robot, .

—Matt Smith

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It looks like a planet to me.

On July 31, Étienne Klein, director of the French Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies, shared an image that he claimed the JWST captured of Proxima Centauri, the closest known star to the sun. “It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope,” Klein told his more than 91,000 Twitter followers. “This level of detail… Every day a new world is revealed.”

Except it was actually a photo of a slice of chorizo ​​against a black background. “Given certain comments, I am obliged to point out that this tweet that showed an alleged photo of Próxima Centauri was a joke,” he said. . Klein added that she posted the image to educate the public about the threat of fake news.

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Samsung has made great strides with its foldable phones, paving the way for innovative (if sometimes quite expensive) alternatives to the typical glass brick. On the advent of the company’s fourth generation of foldables, which will likely include both Engadget’s Sam Rutherford reports on his own folding purchase of a Z Fold 3 last year. Phones are getting tougher, but that foldable screen innovation goes off the rails by bubbling up under the screen protector after about half a year.

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You can use the gamepads individually or as a matched pair.

Valve is finally adding Steam support for console controllers. In an advertisement seen by pc gamer, the company said that the latest Steam beta adds support for Joy-Cons. With the new software, it’s possible to use Joy-Cons individually or as part of a matched pair to play games. If you want to test the feature, you need to opt into the Steam beta. You’ll need a Bluetooth adapter or motherboard with Bluetooth connectivity to use your Joy-Cons with Steam because there’s no way to connect a cable to the Switch controllers.

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The company says it is running the first fully driverless service in China.

Baidu has permission to run a fully driverless robotaxi service in China. It says that it is the first company in the country to obtain such permits. In April, Baidu got approval to operate a self-driving taxi service in Beijing, as long as there was a human operator in the driver’s or front passenger seat. Now you can offer a service where the only occupants of the car are the passengers. There are some limits to permissions. Driverless Apollo Go vehicles can circulate in designated areas in Wuhan and Chongqing only during the day. However, this covers a good 13 square kilometers (5 square miles) in Wuhan alone.

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