iRobot Teams Up With Google – AVA Pedestal Robot With Tablet For A Head (video)
While iRobot is leaving applications for AVA up to developers, telepresence and medical applications are at the top of the list.
Finally Android tablets are going to be able to live up to their names. At the recent Google I/O conference, Colin Angle of iRobot announced that the Boston based company would be teaming up with the search engine to get Android apps on the new AVA robot this year. AVA is a pedestal shaped bot on wheels which can autonomously navigate itself through a crowd without breaking anyone’s ankles. While containing a great deal of its own functionality, AVA’s head is a tablet computer. Any tablet computer. iPad2, Galaxy, you name it – iRobot claims they want AVA to be “head agnostic”. Yet with the latest announcement, AVA is poised to be tested with Android applications first, and that’s sure to make a big difference in the way it’s adopted and developed. Check out AVA as it wheels around Google I/O in the videos below. Could this tablet-headed bot be the platform that finally brings personal robotics into the home on a grand scale?
Since they started showing off AVA at CES earlier this year, iRobot has gone out of its way to highlight how the bot’s navigation skills make it people-friendly and human environment ready. In the following clip taken at Google I/O 2011, you’ll see it move fairly quickly in a crowded environment. Top speed for AVA is supposedly two meters per second. Not bad at all. While all of this running around is head-independent (the processing is done in AVA’s own body) it’s unclear to me how much of this navigation is happening in real time thanks to its two Kinect sensors, and how much relies upon preprogrammed maps of the area.