iRobot burro is a drain and pipe cleaning solution. First of its kind it cleans the entire pipeline by itself without any heavy coils or excess human power. It is designed to enter different pipe sizes and move in any direction. burro will help iRobot tap a new market segment and induce growth.

Through the process of research and design create a product that results in 20% growth of the chosen company.


Project Brief


Through market opportunity identification, market research, business model generation, and iterative concept development present fully realized growth design solutions. Develop a design-driven concept that could add a 20% growth in a new business category.

Time Period: 10 Weeks


The company my team, Indrashish Dutta Roy and I chose was iRobot. We found that it is a relatively new company and has a lot of potential to tap new market segments and grow. 

My Role






Process Book




Understanding iRobot and their business model.



Identifying and researching potential opportunities to diversify.


Final Opportunity


Idea Development

Narrowing down to one opportunity area: Drain and pipe cleaning market.
Designing the final concept for the chosen opportunity area.
Who is iRobot ?
"Your Helping Hand"
We are a leading global consumer robot company, we design and build robots that empower people to do more both inside and outside of their homes.     
          We are committed to fostering invention, discovery and technological exploration in the pursuit of practical and valuable robot products for the home. iRobot is at the forefront of developing technologies in the areas of mapping and navigation, human-robot interaction, and physical solutions.

Initial Research

Products and Services
Product Line
Intellectual Property

iRobot sells in over 50 countries and has sold more than 30 million consumer robots.

Business Model Canvas

 This canvas traces all of Irobot’s current business structure. Moreover, this canvas aided us in identify the operating cost structure of the company and the partnerships Irobot has with other firms along with it’s other resources such as it’s extensive tech patent list and highly skilled employees

User Persona

We divided our consumers according to several criteria such as location, their lifestyle and does the consumer have a family or not. This research lead us to find our shortcomings, the main problems with our products.

SWOT Ananlysis

After identifying our shortcomings, we created a 'Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat' analysis chart. We plotted our findings and from there we started looking at our weaknesses and threats, and how could we counter them using our resources and strengths. We noticed that a lot of our expensive R&D gets knocked off by counterfeit products and because of that we lose a lot of capital and market share. So that lead us to develop opportunities.

Product Line

IRobot has 3 main product lines, Roomba, Braava, and Root. Out of these 3, Roomba and Braava are really successful, selling over 30 million units worldwide. We also sell accessories which can be purchased individually, this helps our users to maintain their products for the long term and change anything faulty. Currently, Roomba has had around 7 models and the Braava has 5 models   


Due to our immense success in the Robotic Vaccum market, there is a lot of competition coming up. Big brands such as Dyson are entering the market. We still have the majority of the market share, but our dominance is severely threatened by companies replicating our technology without the R&D cost that we incur. They also undercut our prices making their products look better off. The listed products are our major competition, right now we are dominating this market but we need to innovate to survive. 

Identifying Opportunity Areas


The idea stems from the current pandemic which is going on. iRobot's technology can assist in disinfection of public and private spaces.

Leak Detection

Everyday 20% of the clean water produced us lost due to pipe leak.Every year there are about 240,000 water pipe break in just the US itself and many of them cause sinkholes and other severe damages. iRobot has already developed an incredible detection technology which can be used. 

Personalized Cleaning

We live in a dynamic and constantly changing age. There are almost 13 variations of apartment types, with every room requiring a different type of cleaning. Using iRobot's technology we can take their ' Helping Hand' brand Essence to the next level.  
Existing technologies arent efficient enough. The global industrial cleaning market size is projected to reach USD 58.2 billion by 2024.

Industrial Cleaning

Reasons to shift to a new market?

Rising competition in the consumer robotics market.
Counterfeit Products
Too much money is being spent to protect IP
Tough to maintain low price after R&D in consumer robotics
Diversify and capture a new market.

Drain and Pipe Cleaning

Drain and Pipeline systems have become severly complex over the years, however the cleaning methods are still the orthodox methods used from 1980 onwards. Hence a modern smart solution to industrial pipeline cleaning would be a novel innovation. Drains and pipes are a big maze and inaccessible by humans due to their small size, a automated robotic solution would be highly efficient in this field.

Drain and Pipe Cleaning was chosen as the final opportunity area.

Why the drain and pipe cleaning industry? 

Market Need 
Market Size



Existing Technologies


Pros- Economical, comparitively green, Doesnt use harmful Chemicals
Cons N.A in Freezing temperatures not maneuverable built to use in small areas

Drain Snake

Pros- Cheapest, Doesnt use harmful chemicals
Cons-not effective in large areas, can only solve small household clogs  

Power Rodding

Pros- Really common, Readily Available, Doesnt use harmful chemicals, effectivein medium pipe systems.
Cons- Doesnt work in large netwroks, Rotating cutting blade might harm pipes.

Comparative Analysis 

Form, Function and Inspiration

Tasks The Robot Has To Perform


Clean heavy or soft gunk
Travel in different pipe orientations
Relatively tight spaces but also large spaces
Travel through different terrains


More efficient 

Soft Robotics

Allow travels through tight spaces and nooks
More responsive 


Power source
Bearings and Gears
Cleaning Part
PCB and Wiring

Ideation and Design Development

Ideation 1

Ideation 2

Ideation 3

Final Concept

Artboard 70@2x.png

Semi Autonomous deployable Drain Cleaner

First of its kind portable, compact drain cleaner, which cleans an entire piple by itself. No need of heavy coils of wires and 1000 different set up parts, Burro helps you do it all. 

Harmless, seamless and efficient travel

The tail is made of silicone which lets it travel through water in the pipeline without damaging the pipe or blocking the system. 

Dry vertical drains? Not a problem

Wheels on the side deploy to enable the bot to travel vertically in a dry drain. burro it equipped to travel in multi scenario drains and pipes.

Designed to tackle heavy clogs which need an extra push

Mounts on the side of the device which are automatically deployed to steady burro when it senses a heavy clog in the drain

Maps and Communicates every detail

burro maps your entire pipeline system and relays information on the details of it. It communicates with you so you don't have to manually operate it though a labrynth.

7.5 inches
3.5 inches

State Of The Art Technology

All the components in burro are designed by industry leaders to maximize efficiency to provide you modern drain cleaning technology.

The Burro kit

  • burro

  • charging Adapter

  • cleaning brushes

  • burro drill bits

  • disassembly kit for maintenance

Reflection and Next Steps


This Project helped me get an in-depth understanding of the business side of design by encouraging me to think about a new market segment and how it would affect Irobot's business. Over the course of 10 weeks, I was able to enhance my research skills, design thinking, ideation, and CAD skills. I was also able to improve my speaking and presentation skills as I presented my final concept to a panel which consisted of industry leaders ranging from entrepreneurs to designers. As the next step for this project, my partner and I would like to collaborate with a development team and create a prototype. We would also look into IP and existing patents so that we can develop a robot that is one of its kind.

This project was completed in collaboration with Indrashish Dutta Roy over a course of 10 weeks for Innovation by Design at Rhode Island School of Design

Manav Kedia 2020