When the Roomba was first introduced by local company iRobot in 2002, many questioned whether consumers would shell out a few hundred dollars for a robotic vacuum cleaner. Well a decade later, iRobot has sold 10 million of the devices, and that’s helped Massachusetts emerge as a leader in robotics. Some of the cutting edge technology being developed by local companies is on now view at the RoboBusiness conference at the Hynes Convention Center.

Casey Nobile is one of the conference organizers and a columnist for Robotics Business Review.

Tim De Chant is a senior digital editor at the WGBH program NOVA and runs the NOVA Next website. Read his new article, "Navigating the Robot Economy."