Answer: U.S. patent (U.S. 8,108,092)
Question: What is iRobot’s 100th patent, Alex?
Bedford, Mass.-based iRobot Corp. has hit the century mark in terms of patents, a milestone, which it describes as “an important attainment reflecting the company's ongoing attention to building strategic intellectual property.”
The robot-maker’s 100th U.S. patent protects robotic ‘retrotraverse’ technology, which gives the firm’s iRobot 510 PackBot with User Assist Package (UAP) the ability to autonomously come back to its handler should the wireless communications link between operator and machine be dropped.
Apparently the good folks at the patent office were quite busy with robot related submissions, as on the same day iRobot was awarded the patent for ‘retrotraverse’, it was also awarded a patent covering sonar technologies for robotic telepresence. The application of this particular technology can be seen in the company’s iRobot Ava mobile robotics offering, a platform that was developed to help robot designers, application developers and other specialists design cutting edge, affordable mobile robotic solutions.
iRobot also holds 108 foreign patents and continues to pursue more than 250 patent applications pending worldwide.