Photokina 2014 highlights

iRobot

The Roomba 800 Series has no bristles

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.  Read More

The iRobot Ava 500 in an informal conversation

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.  Read More

DARPA's ARM program hand is flexible enough to pick up a basketball...

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).  Read More

RP-VITA in action

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.  Read More

The Mirra 530, at work in a pool

iRobot is probably best known for its Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, Looj eavestrough-cleaning robot, and Scooba robotic floor cleaner. Owners of swimming pools, however, might also be familiar with the company’s Verro pool-cleaning robots. Today, iRobot announced the launch of its latest and fanciest pool-bot, the Mirra 530.  Read More

iRobot tests the durability of its new robot hand by smashing it with a baseball bat

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.  Read More

The Looj 330 sports new features and a more compact shape to help shift stubborn leaves an...

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.  Read More

The RP-VITA can allow doctors to make a diagnosis remotely

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.  Read More

The new Roomba 790 from iRobot comes with a Wireless Command Center to control the robo-va...

After a decade on the market, the Roomba has become the most well-recognized brand in robotic vacuum cleaners and a staple of many households. But while iRobot has improved the Roomba's filtering, suctioning, and collision detection over the years, actually controlling the vacuum has been left to its automated systems. Now iRobot has released the Roomba 790, which gives you direct control of the robo-vac's movement and settings remotely with a new Wireless Command Center.  Read More

The 710 Warrior can lift loads of up to 220 lbs (100 kg)

iRobot, the company behind household helpers, such as the Roomba and Scooba, and military and police robots, such as the PackBot and Negotiator, has released an updated version of its Warrior 700 robot. Like its predecessor, the newly launched 710 Warrior is designed for EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), reconnaissance and surveillance missions and can lift loads of up to 220 lbs (100 kg) and carry payloads of more than 150 pounds (68 kg) over rough terrain.  Read More

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