iRobot is focused on realizing the promise of robots that empower people to do more -- inside and outside of the home. As we fulfill the potential of consumer robots and advance our technology, we believe that our company will help inspire the next generation of innovators. To that end, iRobot Education provides a voice for us to engage and encourage the future generations of roboticists, engineers and programmers through our STEM outreach program, education resources including our learning content and proprietary coding platform, and educational robots.
iRobot is committed to building a future for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in the United States and the launch of iRobot Education in April 2020 further reinforces this commitment.
STEM Outreach: Scope and Reach
iRobot’s STEM outreach leverages the company’s global workforce as part of its enduring mission to help educate and inspire students of all ages to learn more about robotics. Each year, iRobot aspires to have meaningful employee engagement and directly reaches tens of thousands of students through its STEM program. To support this effort, employees are provided 2 days to work on STEM advancement in the community. Employee participation in iRobot’s STEM programs continues to be substantial with well over one-third of its U.S. workforce dedicating time to help students gain a better appreciation of the fast-growing robotics field. Internationally, our employees are involved in regional activities that include hosting student visits and sponsoring hack-a-thons.
*Museum temporarily closed in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to renovations
Each year, hundreds of iRobot professionals visit and speak at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, universities and other educational symposiums and events that can range in size from a dozen individuals to engagements attended by over 15,000 people. In addition, we host groups at our headquarters and other regional facilities, which includes tours of Cool Stuff museum. For the past three years, iRobot professionals averaged over 1.5 interactions with students per workday!
Complementing the outreach efforts of iRobot's STEM activities are a set of free tools and resources that further advances iRobot's educational mission.
iRobot® Coding Platform
Learn to code using iRobot Coding, an accessible, free online coding platform for all skill-levels. Beginning with graphical coding before advancing to hybrid coding followed by full-text coding, the platform’s auto-level converter instantly translates code between all 3 learning levels to empower continuous learning and improvement. For those who own a Root Coding Robot, iRobot Coding brings the code to life by connecting to the robot and having it carry out your instructions. Alternatively, virtual arenas let you control robot SimBots on your device screen, allowing anyone who does not have access to robots to participate. In 2019, iRobot Coding had over 18,000 unique registered users who spent over 35,000 hours on the platform.
iRobot Education provides a repository for meaningful education ideas and resources for the community. Our learning library provides hours of free coding and STEM tutorials, projects, and activities in both online and offline, printable capacities. Premium content modeled after educational standards is also available on a subscription basis.
Leveraging our industry expertise, our educational robots are designed to help further 21st-century learning. Our Root® Coding Robot caters to coders of all skill-levels by using interactive, hands-on experiences with robots to bring coding to life and engage learners with innovation and creativity. For advanced makers, our Create® 2 Programmable Robot provides a mobile platform that users can build upon to take their robotics, computer science, and engineering skills to the next level.
iRobot receives thousands of requests for charitable support. In lieu of financial donations and complementing the time its teams spend in the community, our employees can request a robot to donate to a non-profit hosting a fundraiser. The company donates over 12 robots per month to a wide range of organizations and institutions – the equivalent of over $100,000.
Red Sox Partnership
iRobot has partnered with the Boston Red Sox professional baseball team to drive broader STEM awareness. This multi-faceted relationship includes a STEM career fair held at Fenway Park, a pre-game video featuring a STEM topic, a table opportunity at two K-12 STEM expos and a special pre-game event honoring local STEM teachers.
BestBuy Flagship Clubhouse Powered by iRobot
BestBuy and iRobot have teamed together to prepare teens from underserved communities in Boston for the tech-reliant jobs of the future. Clubhouse members can get access to the latest technology, including a 3D printer, a professional music studio, digital cameras, robotics, Pro Tools, Logic X, Sculptris, Adobe, and much more!
National Robotics Week
In 2010, after discussion with top universities and industry leaders, the U.S. House of Representatives officially designated the second full week in April as National Robotics Week. National Robotics Week (RoboWeek) is organized by iRobot, and recognizes robotics technology as a pillar of American innovation, highlights its growing importance in a wide variety of application areas, and emphasizes its ability to inspire technology education. With over 350 events each year, in all 50 states, RoboWeek provides a great opportunity to showcase the strength of the industry as well as inspire thousands of students in robotics and STEM fields. National Robotics Week took place from April 4-12, 2020 this year.
Would you like iRobot to visit your educational group? Visits from our volunteers present what our robots do, some of the careers in tech, and a demo of the robot in action. In addition, iRobot provides mentoring, career introduction and internships, all geared toward connecting students to the opportunities provided by a STEM education and occupation. For educators, the Root Coding Robot offers professional development and various webinars for using coding in the classroom. Learn more about how to get involved in our STEM programs, resources, or our education robots.
iRobot has a long history of taking action when the world needs help. Our robots have helped first responders In New York City after the 9/11 attacks, in the Gulf of Mexico to assist with exploratory efforts in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and In Japan to help inspect the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after a natural disaster.
In 2020, as the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread globally, iRobot and its employees proactively donated time, resources and technology to support healthcare workers on the front lines. iRobot supported several COVID-19 relief initiatives, such as donating thousands of masks from its manufacturing facilities to healthcare workers, participating in a project to repurpose Roomba® filters for use in personal protective equipment, retrofitting Roomba in Italian hospitals with a tripod and phone to connect patients with their families and releasing numerous free online and offline learning materials for both teachers and students.