Seven years ago, iRobot unveiled the Create
– an educational robot based around the platform of the company's existing Roomba vacuum-cleaning robot. Both robotics in general and the Roomba specifically
have advanced since then, so it only makes sense that iRobot has now announced the Create 2.
Having a 21st century robot doesn't help if the control is like something designed to handle a model plane circa 1965, so iRobot has come up with something that is not only up to date, but also more intuitive, so operators can worry more about the job at hand than the robot used to complete it. The iRobot uPoint Multi-Robot Control (MRC) system is a universal control system for the company’s defense and security robots
that combines a touchscreen interface with a mobile robotic radio relay.
According to iRobot, the global market for vacuum cleaners costing over US$200 is worth $6 billion a year. The company is looking to grab a greater share of this pie with its new Roomba 800 Series robot vacuum that was rolled out this week. The 800 Series boasts a number of innovations, the biggest of which is its new AeroForce Extractors, which see conventional bristles replaced with textured rollers to provide what the company claims is a 50 percent improvement in performance.
Business grows more global everyday and what was once done by a single corporation is now more likely to be spread over many small businesses. Ideally, managers and remotely-based employees would like a virtual presence at a location, but telepresence robots are often more like smartphones on remote-controlled sticks, so they lack a feeling of personal presence and naturalism. At the InfoComm 2013 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, iRobot, in collaboration with Cisco, have unveiled the Ava 500; a telepresence robot that combines auto navigation and a high-definition screen for a more natural telepresence.
Back when DARPA first announced its Autonomous Robotic Manipulation
(ARM) program in 2010, the average cost of a military-grade robot hand was around US$50,000. That's expensive even by the US military's standards – especially for something that is bound to be in close contact with explosives – which is why the hardware team of the ARM program tasked participants with developing a reliable low-cost hand. Now, thanks to work by iRobot (yes, the company that makes the Roomba
robotic vacuum) and researchers at Harvard and Yale, the ARM program has a surprisingly effective new hand to play with that costs just $3,000 (in batches of 1,000 or more).
iRobot has announced that its RP-VITA
autonomous remote presence robot, co-developed by InTouch Health, has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in hospitals.
Not even a baseball bat can damage the fingers of a new robotic hand developed by iRobot for the DARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program. The four-year program, which began in 2010, seeks to build and program a robot capable of handling all kinds of things on the battlefield with minimal human input. Most robot hands have rigid components which tend to be quite fragile, but this hand has rubbery fingers, which are better able to absorb impacts.
Purveyor of autonomous cleaning helpers
and military hardware
iRobot has announced the release of some new bots in the form of an updated Looj 330, which is designed to perform the unpleasant and potentially dangerous task of cleaning out gutters, and the entry-level Roomba 600 Series of indoor cleaning robots.
In a medical emergency, seconds count. But if the doctor needed is in another part of the hospital or even another part of town, then those seconds can stretch dangerously. If only the doctor could be in two places at once, then countless lives could be saved. This is one of the most promising applications in the emerging field of telepresence robotics
and RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant) - a joint development by the robotics firm iRobot and telemedicine company InTouch Health - is aiming to bring this closer to reality.