The iRobot Corporation is a U.S. based company founded in 1990 and one of the pioneers of telepresence robot technology. Their portfolio includes robots for domestic use as well as solutions for police and military forces. Now they have introduced the Ava 500 and moving into enterprises and manufacturing sector by enhancing the iRobot technology with the Cisco EX60 TelePresence unit for HD video conferencing features.
Ava 500 is not only able to be remotely moved but can also move autonomously to a target location without the effort of actually steering the unit. This enables the users to use the scheduling function to make sure that the Ava 500 robot is in the desired position at a planned time and date. All information about its position and move can be tracked on an app via iPad or iPhone and does not require indepth technical insight.
In order to be able to move autonomously, Ava 500 will make an “exploration” run when placed in a building for the first time. The area will be scanned and all information will be recorded on its location map, which then can be used by the user easily to tap to a location using only the touch screen of the iPad or iPhone.
POIs, such as conference rooms or employees workstations, can be placed on the map for easy access. Even though the user does not actively have to steer the unit, it will still be possible to view the camera feed of the moving Ava 500 and to say “hi” to coworkers passing by. After a session is complete, the Ava 500 unit will automatically move back to its docking station to charge up again.
Professional Video Conferencing
Having the Cisco EX60 TelePresence unit mounted, the video conferencing part of the robot can be maintained and managed by the VNOC (Video Network Operations Centre) just like any other Cisco TelePresence endpoint. Therefore maintaining full interoperability, security and ability to register the unit to Cisco TMS (TelePresence Management Suite) and the Cisco VCS (Video Communication Server) for easy management.
- Autonomous navigation in office buildings, laboratories, manufacturing floors, etc.
- Remote control with iOS devices (iPad, iPhone)
- Cisco EX60 with HD capability and autofocus camera take care of the AV transmissions
- Wireless connection on an enterprise level with the Cisco Aironet 1600
- Height adjustment to make sure you look your conversation partner in the eyes
- Scheduling function makes sure the robot is in the meeting room when you need it to be
- Release estimated in early 2014
- Price not yet announced
The iRobot Ava 500 brings together hightech robotics and cutting-edge video conferencing technology in a futuristic looking device to assist corporate communications and collaboration on a new level without compromises to interoperability.
Thanks to Caitlin Kullberg of iRobot for helping me with the research and photo material. I’m looking forward to seeing one of these guys moving around in the future. How would you like using this robot on your “working from home” day or visiting a remote location with the ability to explore the campus? Let us know of your opinion in the comment section below.