Perhaps no other company can claim as much credit for the growth of the household robotics industry as the quarter-century old iRobot, creator of the famed Roomba and former U.S. defense contractor. The iRobot Mirra 530 is the marine entrant in the iRobot lineup, a relatively pricey bot with some enticing features to justify the expense. It's one of the few pool cleaning bots with the capability to skim the pool surface and water, rather than just the pool floor. The construction is sturdy, the aesthetic is sleek, and the PVA wheels provide excellent traction. Users widely report a very deep cleaning job from their Mirras, making iRobot's claims of Mirra cleaning "algae, pollen, and bacteria" seem like more than marketing malarkey.
Founded by M.I.T. grads Colin Angle, and Helen Greiner, and former professor Rodney Brooks, iRobot began their ascent to publicly-traded consumer robotics firm as three geniuses intent on building the future of warfare (the company has recently completely divested from the war robot research and production business). Their strategy turned towards the consumer markets in 2002, with the release of the first model of the Roomba, an autonomous vacuum cleaner. The Roomba was a smash hit, selling a million units by its second year on the market, and paving the way for a full line of high quality (and high priced) home robo-servants.
Despite its many quality features, the Mirra appears to suffer from some potentially fatal flaws. Many users report a variety of maladies striking their new pool boy after just over a year of use -- some even sooner. Frequently tangled cords, faulty power supplies, and the lack of particularly detailed instructions are among the oft cited letdowns from users unsatisfied with their four-figure friend.
Despite these issues, the MIrra 530 remains a fairly popular product -- and since iRobot is now focusing exclusively on their consumer line, it will likely age like a fine wine.
iRobot Mirra is self-contained with a pump and filter, so no additional booster pump or complicated hook is required.