10 Silly Inventions That Became Wildly Famous

The Roomba is a vacuum cleaner robot from a company that designs some serious hardware. © James Leynse/Corbis

Silly is a subjective term. Not everyone thinks iRobot's robotic vacuum cleaner is particularly silly. But when Roomba first hit the market some people laughed. A robotic disk that rolled around, bumping into things and vacuuming the floor didn't match up to the image of a bionic butler.

But the Roomba has stuck around and met with success. The engineers behind iRobot have an impressive background. They've developed robots for space exploration and defense projects. Their creations have saved lives and advanced science. It's clear the engineers at iRobot know their robotics.

The company launched the Roomba in 2002. The robot received lots of attention from the press. Today, iRobot offers other robots to help with keeping your house in shape, including the Scooba robot that mops floors and the Looj robot that cleans gutters. These robots help owners save time and effort by performing routine cleaning jobs. And they don't have any feelings so it's OK if you want to laugh at them.