iRobot cofounder and CEO Colin Angle com­pared his journey toward becoming a suc­cessful entre­pre­neur to flying an air­plane as you build it.

On the inside of the plane it looks like unchanging, con­stant peril,” Angle explained.

He addressed more than 150 stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff in the Raytheon Amphithe­ater on Thursday — the inau­gural lec­ture in the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­den­tial Speaker Series enti­tled Pro­files in Innovation.

Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun hosted the pro­gram, which is designed to bring the world’s most cre­ative minds to campus for con­ver­sa­tions on inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship. More than 100 watched the hour-​​long event live on Face­book or on a screen in a sep­a­rate room accom­mo­dating the over­flow audience.

Our pur­pose is to invite inno­v­a­tive speakers who are working at the inter­sec­tion of var­ious fields because that’s what we are doing at North­eastern,” Aoun said. “We are con­ducting inter­dis­ci­pli­nary, use-​​inspired research that impacts society on a global level.”

iRobot, a pio­neering force in the robot industry for con­sumer, gov­ern­ment and indus­trial mar­kets world­wide, was cofounded by Angle in 1990. Over the last two decades, he and his team have trans­formed the robot from fac­tory drone to a member of the domestic and mil­i­tary family with the award-​​winning Roomba, an autonomous home vacuum cleaner, and the PackBot, a search and bomb-​​disposal robot sta­tioned in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Watching the MSE-​​6 series droid lead the Storm Troopers against the rebel alliance in the epic space opera “Star Wars” inspired Angle to build robots with prac­tical appli­ca­tions, he said. “I thought about what prac­tical role robots could play in our lives,” Angle explained. “There are many dirty, ugly chal­lenges that occupy our time that don’t need to be done by people.”

iRobot has been a long­time partner of North­eastern. Since 2001, more than 90 stu­dents have com­pleted a co-​​op with the robot man­u­fac­turer. “We get tremen­dous value from our co-​​ops,” Angle said. “It’s a win-​​win.”

After the lec­ture, Angle took ques­tions from the audi­ence and sub­mitted by viewers on Face­book and Twitter.

Angle, who holds both a bachelor’s degree in elec­trical engi­neering and a master’s degree in com­puter sci­ence from MIT, responded to one stu­dent who ques­tioned the value of a col­lege edu­ca­tion. “The men­toring I received from working with my pro­fes­sors pre­pared me to do what I do,” he said. “The skills … to create and scale com­pa­nies are learn­able skills” that can be honed by building strong rela­tion­ships with fac­ulty and fellow students.

Prior to Angle’s address, Aoun played a fun video of his encounter with a Roomba, during which he per­formed a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the Cha-​​cha-​​cha while sweeping the floor with his robotic friend.

Now the video is on my laptop,” Angle quipped. “I’m not saying where it will go next.”

Aoun will host a con­ver­sa­tion with pio­neering air­space sculptor Janet Echelman in the next Pro­files in Inno­va­tion event on Dec. 1. Com­bining ancient craft with cutting-​​edge tech­nology, the inno­v­a­tive artist trans­forms urban space by cre­ating building-​​scale sculp­ture envi­ron­ments that con­tin­u­ously change by melding with the forces of nature, including wind, water and light.