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The Art of Manufacturing podcast gives a behind-the-scenes look at how inspiring entrepreneurs who make stuff are trying to “make it” in their industries. Find it on iTunes, iHeart, Stitcher and other popular platforms. Subscribe to never miss an episode!

Jun 8, 2017

If you own a Roomba, you can thank Rod, because he’s the co-founder of iRobot. He launched the company almost three decades ago when he was a professor at MIT. Well, today, he's at it again. He’s trying to disrupt the world of industrial robotics with his new startup, Rethink Robotics. While I was in Boston a few weeks ago, I visited him at his home in Cambridge and captured some great stories. His extensive experiences over his career inspired the new company. We hear about the pending workforce shortage (yes, really!) and why location matters with manufacturing, whether it’s China, America, or anywhere else. It’s possible that the influence of the Prague Spring on his college math classes in Australia might have been the key influence in his research years later. He warns us about the hype of artificial intelligence and the potential of collaborative robotics. I’m surprised to hear how difficult it has been for his company to get their robots onto the factory floor given the obvious ROI. He shares humbling lessons about finding product market fit, which he learned the hard way across all three of his startups, and the lessons he takes away. But thanks in large part to his evangelism, the conversation around industrial robotics is changing. Might his ideas help save the manufacturing industry?

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