irobot Takes the Roomba up a Few Notches

irobot’s new bot Ava is much more than vacuum

¨There’s a need for robots that can help people live independently…the number of people over the age of 65 is increasing dramatically,¨ explains the CEO of irobot, Colin Angle in an interview with CNNmoney. Angle further explains that even though many senior citizens may require assistance in their daily living, many of them don’t want to move into assisted living facilities.
Famous for commercializing the famous Roomba Vacuum, irobot has decided to take it a few steps further with their new bot Ava. This robot is mainly being marketed as a home health care assistant as opposed to just a simple hand around the house.

What exactly can it do? For one thing, it can facilitate communication. The screen featured on the front of the bot can be more than just an arbitrary face. Via internet, Ava’s user can connect with someone on an ipad miles away: for example their doctor, at a hospital in the city centre. Ava also boasts much more perception than its vacuuming sibling- thanks to many more layers of software, Ava can navigate through crowded spaces much more precisely. Nevertheless, Eva finds it very embarrassing if it does happen to bump into something- its bottom light flashes pink; how else would a robot blush?

As useful as irobot’s new product may be, there doesn’t seem to be anything that makes Ava specifically fit for healthcare. Telepresence bots like these seem to be all the rage these days so irobot’s got plenty of competition!
If you’re interested in the future of robotics, you may want to check out the European initiative Robot Companions for Citizens. This initiative envisions the implementation of biologically-inspired robotics in a vast range of industries and services ranging from health care to security.

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