Yesterday, iRobot Corp., the manufacturer of the Roomba and PackBots, went to a federal court in Boston and asked a judge to issue an order halting the production of a rival robot builder's machines. iRobot alleges that a former employee of the company, Jameel Ahed, designed the bots for his new firm, Robotic FX, using iRobot trade secrets. No, that's not a PackBot pictured on the left.
There's more than pride at stake here. Robotic FX just won a $280 million contract from the military last week. It looks like production at Robotic FX won't shut down, but this should be an interesting case to follow. Personally, I think they should just let the robots fight it out.—Gregory Mone
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.