iRobot's first attempt at a telepresence robot, a modified Roomba, was a false start
, but now they're back with an all-new bot called AVA which should right all wrongs. The bot can adjust its own height from three feet to five feet tall to meet you at eye level, with a tablet perched on top (this is
CES 2011, after all). Its base is an odd three-wheeled configuration for maneuverability, and the robot has DARPA Challenge-style environment mapping to avoid bumping into anything or anybody. For sensors the AVA is using dual Kinect-style PrimeSense
sensors, along with laser rangefinders, scanning acoustic sensors, and bump sensors. There's naturally a microphone and camera for the bot's primary purpose: video telepresence. What's more interesting, however, is that iRobot has an apps platform for this, which will allow developers to build new functionality. There's no word on price or when this will go on sale, but we already know one thing: we want one. Check out some quality time that PC Magazine
's Lance Ulanoff spent with AVA after the break.