iRobot teamed with InTouch Health to produce the latest in medical robotics dubbed RP-Vita. The doctorbot is mostly an assistant at this stage and is capable of accessing medical files and making diagnoses. Controlled with an iPad control interface and joystick, it can use its electronic stethoscope to check out the patient. Not much human contact here unless they equip it with a friendlier telepresence on its screen.
Just as Spielberg showed a shark's eye view in Jaws (because the mechanized one kept breaking,) you can get a view from a Roomba. During "Breaking Bad," season 4, episode 2, the bot makes its way past partygoers in Jesse Pinkman's (Aaron Paul) house. If you get a chance to view the entire episode, you will see a quick odd cameo from actor/producer Bryan Cranston (Walter White) in a full head of hair and beard. We love this show!
iRobot goes elite with their 790 Roomba. An RF remote control has the power to control its movement at almost any location, a great bonus when trying to avoid small children or pets, or want to send it back to its charging station. The cleaning head has improved to pick up more dirt, pet hair and possibly Rice Krispies. The 790 carries a price of $699 and comes with accessories that include extra filters and brushes, a screwdriver and carrying case.
IRobot has plans to reorganize its company into 3 units, home , military and emerging technology robots. The latter includes Ava, which may be closer to the real world than we think. The company finds the telepresence bot that operates with the aid of an iPad can be used in the areas of healthcare, retail and security. Hmmm. We bet it would make a helluva Walmart Greeter.
We first told you about iRobot's AVA last January appearing at the CES 2011 and it seems that they are finally being released to the world, one bot at a time. For example, one telepresent/iPad bot has been built for Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto to assist Dr. Mirek Otremba and the rest of the staff. iRobot has already teamed up with InTouch Health, a robotics company that specializes in medical conferencing by remote, so we expect that there will soon be an AVA appearing at a health care facility near you.
iRobot, who has been working on Ava, a robot that runs on Apple and Android devices, is hoping that developers will come up with additional applications for the five foot tall telepresence bot. First unveiled at the CES 2011, the company plans to sell Ava to businesses, hospitals and even consumers next year if all goes according to schedule. So, all you smart roboticists, this is your chance to get in on the ground floor of a budding enterprise.
We finally know that one of the iRobot Packbots was sent into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to measure the amount of radiation and oxygen levels in the building. This is a first time foray into the fray that is also set to check temperature, although the company sent the bots several weeks ago. A rep from Tepco claims that it will find if the conditions are safe for a human to enter.
Dr. Peter Lyons, acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy with the DOE, told a Senate panel Tuesday that the US is sending some radiation-hardened robots to Japan to assist inside their at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants. The bots can measure radiation and send images with cameras to their operators. Also being sent are trainers to instruct the workers in their operation.
iRobot informed us that they sent four robots (2 iRobot 510 PackBots and 2 iRobot 710 Warriors) to Japan early last week and they arrived about March 22. Six iRobot employees also made the trip to train Japanese authorities on how to use the robots. They had no information about specific projects, though.
Public Relations Specialist Charlie Vaida told Robot Snob, "Both the PackBot and Warrior give the operator situational awareness in dangerous environments. They are outfitted with a variety of cameras and sensors, and any information it captures is relayed back to the operator who can remain at a safe standoff distance."
This also makes us wonder if Japan actually employed its own Monirobo as we reported earlier, as it seems a lot of the information coming out of the country regarding the state of its plants seems to be erroneous.
How sad that a country that is tops in robotics seems to be lacking in that area and instead concentrates on consumer usage, like those that are hyped on the site of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization.)
Stay tuned. We also contacted JETRO but have received no response as yet.
iRobot's display at the CES last week included AVA, a robot that is connectable to iPad and Android smartphones. Using sensors that are the same as in the Kinect, the bot builds a map of its area and will go to any location on it by a simple touch. The application can be used for security, telepresence and as a fetch and carry bot.
IRobot has a new Roomba designed for that nasty area around your toilet or other tight places. The 3.5 x 6.5" Scooba 230 will be out this spring at a price of $299.99 and has a 3-stage cleaning system that washes, scrubs and squeegees floors. The company will debut the system at the CES 2011 along with its new The Roomba 700 series.
It's Roomba Holiday Time! Whether you prefer a basic 530 Roomba, Dirt Dog or 532 Pet Series, iRobot offers all kinds of specials, including free shipping on purchases over $50.00 and a free hard floor cleaner with Scooba purchase.
iRobot introduced its 5th generation Roomba at a recent a press event in New York, built with modular parts that can easily be replaced. It also has iAdapt technology, an internal sensor that "listens' for dirt rather than mapping and memorizing a room.
CEO Colin Angle spoke about the company's chembot being developed by the University of Chicago that he described as a"shape shifting, amorphous, squishable blob that can roll itself."
Kudos also goes to the company that launched their Seaglider, developed at the University of Washington and licensed by iRobot, that is still in the Gulf. It captures and monitors samples to detect oil as far down as 1,000 meters as well as reportng a wide variety of data, including measuring the level of dissolved oxygen.
iRobots' wee LANdroids have finally taken another robotic step forward. The disposable robots now have cliff, front and yaw sensors, 4-way video cams, 2-way audio and an optional laser camera. The military bots are being funded by DARPA, who wants small, intelligent and inexpensive mobile communication.
This might be a good time to invest in iRobot stock. The Roomba maker has entered into an agreement with electronic parts maker Jabil Circuit. The company will make, test and supply iRobots consumer products, allowing the bot manufacturer to "diversify key elements of our supply chain, provide geographic flexibility to address new markets with localized operations and expand overall capacity to meet growing demands."