Didn't expect this so soon: iRobot unveiled its telepresence robot, AVA. The telepresence robot is compatible with iPads and Android devices and is designed to be ready for APPs.
iRobot CEO Colin Angle: "If you can program an iPad, you can program a robot."
The new robot has sonar and mapping, and Microsoft Kinect-style technology.
Here's PC Magazine's interview on YouTube:
This isn't yet a shipping product, so we'll have to see if iRobot can be more successful this time than they were with the ConnectR product, which flubbed both the Roomba form factor (trip grandma, useless in offices, hospitals), and function (no on-board screen).
With the new robot, the tablet device is the screen. Pretty easy upgrades too — just load a new App on your tablet, or upgrade the tablet. I love the modular concept.
Price points are obviously the bugaboo with devices like this one. But there's a lot of potential uses, such as remote medical monitoring. I could also see the government using this at some point. Imagine how many more facilities a government inspector could keep tabs on at once without having to physically go to every location all the time? Executives could get a tour of key facilities without having to travel to China. This could also be a rare instance where a civilian product goes up the food chain to the military and enhance sentry-type robots, powered by the iPad.