A star attraction at the CES 2011 is the new iRobot telepresence robot known as Ava. It certainly makes for a striking image as it can adjust itself from 3 feet up to a maximum height of 5 feet tall and greets passersby with a tablet where you would expect to see a head.
It is built on top of a base with three wheels and includes an advanced environment mapping system to let it move about your house or office without any problems. The sensors it has built in are dual PrimeSense ones just like those used for the Xbox 360 with Kinect, and it also uses acoustic sensors, laser rangefinders and bump sensors to make sure of its movements and safety.
A microphone and camera are built into it for video telepresence purposes; which basically means that it can project your image and voice into other locations.
If you want to use it as an electronic butler then you can use your tablet, or any other Android powered device, to control it very easily. This way you can get it bring you food, tidy up or even awaken you in the morning. The telemapping system which has been built into the model makes it a lot simpler to move it about than with other types of telepresence robots.
It can move about any way you ask it to and while its top speed of 6 feet per second isn’t lightning fast it is still enough to make it worthwhile telling it to do the things which you rather wouldn’t.
The price and release date aren’t yet known but I hope that it will be long enough away to let me both save up for one and to work out a few uses for it when I get it.
What would you tell yours to do?