Print 10 comment(s) - last by ShieTar.. on Jun 12 at 3:33 AM

It will be released in early 2014

Many companies today have remote workers all around the world, and iRobot Corp. is looking to bring those remote employees a little closer to the office.

iRobot and Cisco worked together to create iRobot Ava 500, which is a video collaboration robot for the enterprise. It aims to allow remote workers to not only be present at meetings and office collaborations, but also move about the office without much effort. 

The iRobot Ava 500 uses Cisco’s TelePresence EX60 personal video endpoint, and has the EX60’s 21.5-inch HD resolution screen on top of a mobile robotics platform. It also utilizes Cisco's Aironet 1600 Series wireless access points for enterprise-grade security. 

The iRobot Ava 500 works like this: a remote worker uses an iPad interface to choose their destination within an office, such as a particular meeting room. Once selected, an iRobot Ava 500 automatically leaves its charging station and travels to the desired location. The user doesn't have to steer or direct the robot in any way; its built-in maps allow for autonomous navigation.

While traveling about the halls, elevator, etc. of an office, the user can choose whether to be in private mode or public mode. When in private mode, the screen on the robot is blank. But in public mode, the user appears on the screen and can engage in water cooler conversation if they'd like -- just like a physical employee. The iRobot Ava 500 is even developed to carefully avoid bumping into people or inanimate objects while traveling.

Once the robot reaches the desired destination, it allows the user to engage in team collaboration, tours, inspections, presentations and corporate training. 

“iRobot is excited to work with Cisco to bring this next generation of telepresence to businesses worldwide,” said Youssef Saleh, vice president and general manager of iRobot’s Remote Presence business unit. “iRobot has been successful in introducing autonomous remote presence platforms to hospitals. Ava 500 will unlock new markets and applications for telepresence in the workplace."

The iRobot Ava 500 is expected to be available in early 2014. 

Source: iRobot

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By Motoman on 6/10/2013 12:32:34 PM , Rating: 4
...seriously. Why in the f%ck does this thing even exist when Skype does the same thing without the million-dollar robot thingy?

This isn't an invention anymore than a 2-year-old poking a stick into a Twinkie and declaring he's invented the Twinkie-on-a-stick.

RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By retrospooty on 6/10/2013 12:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... "You are just discriminating against the othereise located" - Sheldon Cooper.

RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By lelias2k on 6/10/2013 1:17:47 PM , Rating: 2
When I looked at that thing, Sheldon was the first thing that came to my mind. :)

RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By amelia321 on 6/10/13, Rating: -1
RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By kattanna on 6/10/2013 12:54:51 PM , Rating: 3
whats funny is now imagine a meeting filled with nothing but these robots..


RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By Reclaimer77 on 6/10/2013 1:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
Lol exactly. Or better yet use your own legs?

RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By SigmundEXactos on 6/10/2013 2:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
As a remote employee -- skype is okay. This would be better.

Our meeting rooms have 1 screen or projector. If they use that, you can't video chat with them (at least not effectively).

I've already hacked up a Nexus 10 on a rotating stand, but this'll be easier for those who don't hack.

RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By Motoman on 6/10/2013 2:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Our meeting rooms have 1 screen or projector. If they use that, you can't video chat with them (at least not effectively).

Sure you can. Have someone bring up Skype on a laptop, and point it at the screen.

Same exact functional result...for $0 assuming someone already owns a laptop.

RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By hpglow on 6/10/2013 7:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
Or you could have your friend / co-worker hold up an ipad in the middle of the meeting like one of those idiots that take their vaccation photos and video on them.

RE: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
By ShieTar on 6/12/2013 3:33:18 AM , Rating: 2
You gotta love this kind of reasoning though...

"We only got one screen in the rooms"
"Let's buy additional screens for each room."
"We only have money for a single monitor in the monitor-budget ... There is a lot of money in the Robot-Budget though!"

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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