SAN FRANCISCO--Even robots at CES were letting tablets get to their heads, especially iRobot’s AVA, whose swivel head, perched atop its articulating torso and holonomic base, was an iPad.
AVA, who tootles around on her set of semi-spherical wheels has six degrees of motion freedom, and is head and shoulders more advanced than her little brother --the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner—made by the same firm.
iRobot, which leads the pack in terms of practical robotic technologies, is hoping that by giving their consumer facing bots tablet interfaces –either iPads or Android tablets—the idea will appeal to developers who will program apps to bring robots into the mainstream.
Unlike the complex robotic SDKs available for hardcore robot developers, AVA’s tablet driven brain makes her much easier to program for, using iRobot’s API.
The tablet interface also allows AVA to leverage in-built cameras, gesture recognition algorithms, connectivity, and access to the cloud for higher level applications.
At CES, iRobot was demoing AVA driving herself around between points on the show floor, chosen by her controller, also using an iPad.
For now, sadly, AVA is just a "concept car" and development platform, but iRobot, whose tagline is “Robots that make a difference,” is hoping that one day she’ll be a lot more. The firm is even partnering with InTouch Health to try to bring remote presence into health institutions.
This remote presence could include robots acting as interfaces for doctors making rounds remotely, or bringing outside medical specialties to remote hospitals.
As well as those more serious applications, however, iRobot also believes its products will inspire game developers to push gaming into a new physical dimension.
Check out the video of AVA at CES below: