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Saturday, June 29, 2013

New Canadian Field Robotics Network

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The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada has established a new Canadian Field Robotics Network (NCFRN), led by McGill University Computer Science professor Gregory Dudek. The NCFRN brings together academic, government, and industrial researchers in the area of field robotics, to develop the science and technologies to eventually allow teams of heterogeneous robots (on land, in the air, on the surface of or under water) to work collaboratively in outdoor environments, and to communicate critical information to humans who operate them or use them.
The NCFRN provides the national framework for 11 researchers from 8 renowned Canadian universities as well as 11 industrial partners and 3 government agencies to combine their skills and expertise. This network of people and organizations will allow them to make better progress and compete more effectively internationally. The network addresses basic questions in robotics science and the technologies developed by the NCFRN will help address Canadian problems such as our monitoring and maintaining the state of our environmental heritage, patrolling borders (e.g. in the Arctic), dealing with environmental disasters (e.g. oil spills and nuclear accidents), or improving the quality of life of senior citizens.

Monday, June 10, 2013

iRobot Launches Ava™ 500 Video Collaboration Robot with Cisco TelePresence

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in delivering robotic technology-based solutions, announced the company has signed a joint marketing agreement and is working in close alliance with Cisco to bring the enterprise-grade iRobot Ava 500 video collaboration robot to market.
Ava 500 is based on iRobot’s autonomous navigation and Cisco’s TelePresence to enable people working off-site to participate in meetings and presentations where movement and location spontaneity are important. The new robot is also designed to enable mobile visual access to manufacturing facilities, laboratories, customer experience centers and other remote facilities in a supply chain.

Unique features

According to iRobot the Ava 500 employs “autonomous navigation,” which means there is no need to “drive” the robot, so it requires little training to operate and the user is free to concentrate on the task at hand. iRobot’s mobile robotics platform maps its own environment so it can intelligently and safely self-navigate busy, real-world enterprise environments like offices, manufacturing floors and laboratories without bumping into people or objects.
Ava 500 uses both the Cisco TelePresence EX60 personal unit and Cisco Aironet 1600 Series wireless access points to enable enterprise-grade security and interoperability in any standards-based video collaboration environment.
Ava 500 is targeted for availability from select Cisco partners in early calendar year 2014.