Gadgets

Robots Roll To Meetings

By Phil Pikelny
From the January 2014 issue of Columbus CEO

iRobot is one of the most forward-looking gadget manufacturers in the world today.

Over the past two decades, the company has designed and built robots that help people clean floors and gutters and also assisted safety/military forces in the job of defense and security. iRobot boasts that their products feature iRobot Aware robot intelligence systems—proprietary technology incorporating advanced concepts in navigation, mobility, manipulation and artificial intelligence.

Early next year, iRobot and Cisco will be delivering the first model of their Ava 500. If you watch the TV shows The Good Wife or The Big Bang Theory you have already gotten a glimpse of what the Ava 500 kind of looks like and how it works.

iRobot calls their soon-to-be-released Ava 500 a “video collaboration robot.” Teleconference or telepresence tools are everywhere these days, but iRobot gives this gadget a set of wheels to break away from being a desktop product and allow it to roam an office or work area without bumping into tables, walls, chairs or people.

The Ava 500, which stretches to a height of 5 feet 5 inches, can enable a remote user to join an onsite tour or visit an office for a one-to-one meeting. That remote user controls it all through an app on their iPad.

The Ava 500 is expected to cost about $70,000 per unit (or might be leased for something like $2,500 a month).

Let us know if you’re going to budget for one of these next year. Regardless of how utilitarian this product eventually turns out to be, it would be our honor to install the first Columbus company that owns one into our Pioneering Gadgeteers Hall Of Fame.

Phil Pikelny is the vice president of Dispatch Digital and chief marketing officer of The Dispatch Printing Company.