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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

iRobot Healthcare Robots

iRobot announced the creation of a new product unit: healthcare robots. CEO Colin Angle said the overall goal is to add “one million hours of independent living” to seniors’ lives.

President of the healthcare business unit will be Tod Loofbourrow. The new business unit is committed to exploring the potential of robotics as an assistive technology to promote wellness and enhance quality of life for seniors. In this role, Loofbourrow will be responsible for all aspects of the group’s strategy, research and operations. He will report directly to Angle.

iRobot is now targeting the market for eldercare robots based on the experience of the short-lived ConnectR project they worked on last year. ConnectR was designed to facilitate telepresence, such as between a parent and child in different geographical locations. Telepresence has applications in remote physician visits, or for adult children to check up on their elderly parents. Combine iRobot’s experience with telepresence with their innovative ways to automate common household chores in a user-friendly way, and you have a compelling case for a useful, assistive robot that may allow elderly people to live independently for a greater length of time.

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