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iRobot Ava

An app-based robotics platform integrates mobile connectivity, gestures and independent automation

by Josh Rubin in Tech on 11 January 2012

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While scoping out the developments at CES in Las Vegas, we were delighted to meet Ava, a new mobile robotics platform prototype from the minds over at iRobot. Most will recognize iRobot's past work on the low-profile automated robotic cleaners Roomba and Scooba. While Ava may lack her siblings' sleek looks, she shines with potential as the world's first app-ready robot. Standing between three and five feet tall, the independently mobile robot looks vaguely anthropomorphic as she patiently awaits instruction from her designers.

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Set to debut in the healthcare sector with InTouch Health, Ava is designed to imitate and interact with people in a life-like manner. She accepts voice, gesture and touch commands, even offering gesture responses through nods and shakes of her tablet head. Moving at a steady three miles per hour, the robot uses laser, sonar and 3D imaging sensors to accomplish completely autonomous navigation. Ava independently averts people and other obstacles, getting from A to B with graceful ease.

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The inclusion of a tablet-based interface, along with information available through wireless connectivity, makes Ava readily incorporable into health and other sectors that already use these technologies extensively. iRobot engineers see Ava following users into homes, offices and retail locations in the near future. See a video of Ava in action as she tours a trailer at The Verge.

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