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Friday, June 14, 2013

Telepresence Robotics in the Office

In IEEE Spectrum:  Cisco and iRobot working to produce a telepresence robot.  Conceptually an appealing idea, but I wonder about the practicality before robotic systems are more autonomous.  The proposed system seems to be remotely driven.  Experienced some uni task systems in the office halls of the enterprise that were less than successful.    " ... One of the biggest companies in robotics has teamed up with one of the biggest in telepresence to create a new remote collaboration robot. iRobot and Cisco announced today they are working together to develop a robot called Ava 500 that can autonomously drive around an office and offers crisp HD video experience. The two companies, which are demonstrating the new robot at a trade show this week in Florida, say it will be available early next year (no details on price yet some reports say the robot will cost around US $2,000 to $2,500 per month to lease). The Ava 500 blends technologies from both companies: iRobot has built a capable autonomous navigation platform that it's been integrating into its remote presence robots; and networking giant Cisco is a major provider of video telepresence systems to the corporate market (and to Jack Bauer). Telepresence robots designed to let off-site workers participate in meetings and visit remote locations are becoming increasingly popular. Offerings vary from streamlined models like the Double to sophisticated and more costly robots like iRobot's RP-VITA, which can be used in hospitals. Other remote presence robots include Jazz, Vgo, QB, and Beam. ... " 

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