iRobot, one of the biggest companies in robotics announced the AVA 500, a semi-autonomous telepresence robot in association with Cisco. By blending the technologies from both the companies, Ava 500 has been created which is a latest remote collaboration robot that can independently drive around an office and offer HD video experience.
Ava 500 has similar features of RP-VITA, an iRobot creation which is now being deployed in hospitals to help doctors communicate with patients remotely. The robot navigates around with the help of laser, sonar, and a 3-D vision sensors it posses. The movement of the robot can be selected on a tablet by the user himself i.e., if it faces a closed door, it waits patiently for a human to open it.
It is an important enhancement made in Ava 500. Most of the current telepresence bots require the user to drive their robotic avatar to a given destination by a joystick. Ava can be steered manually if the user needs to angle its hi-def camera to view what’s going on inside a room or a conference hall. It has the ability to save specific vantage points, like a view of PowerPoint presentation or a point of view that enables interaction with a person in the room.
To facilitate business-grade communications, Ava robot takes a different approach to telecommuting. The inventors of the robot have put great efforts to avoid any issues that usually arise. With its big screen, size of the Ava is about 65 inches tall which is neither too short not too tall. It is like the midget looking up at the world.
Sensors in it prevent Ava from getting too close to the people it interacts and ensure that it does not collide with people as it moves from one place to other. Thus, it does not interfere or disturb the works of other employees in an organization.
Ava 500 empowers user to inhabit the robot’s environment. It has a 21-inch monitor that displays the operator, where as its microphones and full HD camera focus on the surroundings with more security and accuracy than many other webcam-based streaming alternatives. The robot’s head is composed of Cisco Systems’ EX60 system, which is about $5000.
The two companies demonstrated the new robot at a trade in Florida, announce that it will hit markets by next year. Although, there is no word about price of Ava 500, reports say that the robot is expected to be cheaper than a high-end, large-screen videoconferencing system and inexpensive than videoconferencing products that are scattered throughout an office or laboratory.
Ava 500 robot is all about power and presentation that is entirely different enterprise product. After its debut, iRobot Company aims to steer autonomous telepresence bots into the home. If the cost of the robotic elements reduces, the expectation of making home assisting robots like a mobile elder-care bot, can come true.