As announced yesterday, iRobot has jumped into the telepresence robot scene with their AVA offering. As reported in PCMag, CNET, Engadget, Hihook and many other sources, the 40 lb iRobot AVA offers:
- 6 hours of battery life with a self-charging mechanism (I assume this means it knows how to park itself into its charger)
- Vertical height changes from 3″ to just shy of 5″
- Non-holonomic base (which means it can easily move in all directions)
- Bumpers to allow for reaction to physical objects (proposing it is kid-safe) and allow for configuration changes (e.g., the head can be moved up / down with a touch)
- PrimeSense sensors (the components from the Kinect) along with sonar and laser range finders
Two major steps forward they believe will impress is the automatic mapping of a space which can be converted to an awareness map for the pilot (using SLAM technology) and the programming ease of using any tablet device onto of the robotic base to allow for ease control programming on the iPad or the Android tablets – suggesting a build out of a robotics app store.
You can see more in the video below.
There are a number of concerns I have with the AVA (named after shortening “avatar”) which I will go into in the next post.