This robot caught my eye as I was wandering around Pepcom this evening. It’s a reference design that was developed by iRobot, one of the leading remote controlled robot manufacturers. It’s not for sale, but it’s cool none the less.
This one was conceived for a hospital setting, and it was developed in partnership with InTouch Health. It can perform some basic autonomous tasks, but it is mainly intended to be remotely controlled from another iPad or computer.
I don’t know when iRobot started demoing this model, but they’ve been working with InTouch Health since July of 2011.
It’s a rather expensive design. Around the base are a set of sonar sensors, and the small black shape that is surrounded by blue is a laser rangefinder. The pedestal can be raised and lowered, and it has a pressure sensitive strip running around on the face and speakers on the upper surface The device on top is an iPad 3G, and it is connected via Bluetooth to the rest of the robot. Below the iPad is a Kinect type of motion and distance sensor.
The iPad is the signal processor for the remote user. It’s not the controller for the rest of the tablet, I don’t think; some of the responses happened too quickly. For example, it is a very difficult to tip this robot over; it will run away from you if you try. That was cool.
I known there’s not much reason to post this on an ereader blog, but I thought it was very cool. but it wasn’t as cool as it could have been; the iRobot techs wouldn’t make it say Exterminate, Kill all the Humans, or even Skynet Rocks. It was fun to watch it move around, though.