Google, iRobot team to build robot apps

Google Android, Apple iPad act as brains for smart robot

Somewhere the Jetsons Rosie is proud. Google today said it teamed with iRobot to create a family of Android applications for the iRobot Ava mobile robotics platform.

According to iRobot, AVA already can use an Apple iPad and now Google Android as its "brain" along with the robots multiple sensors for 3D-location awareness and to build a map of, perhaps, your entire home.

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In addition to sonar and laser sensors, AVA uses two PrimeSense sensors--the same ones found in Kinect for Xbox 360-- to build a three-dimensional map of its environment. That map can appear on AVA's attached iPad screen, Android or on a network connected PC. In either instance, you simply touch on the map where you want AVA to go and the robot will go there. It knows the map and its current location and can "see" the environment around it, iRobot says.  iRobot showed off AVA operating with an iPad at CES in January.

At the Google I/O show, iRobot CEO Colin Angle said mobile computing industry developers are needed to help robots such as AVA take off saying he expects them to enabling robots to do things more like Rosie from the Jetsons. "By tapping into an almost limitless supply of Android-based apps, AVA is poised to revolutionize how people communicate and deliver information through remote presence and other means. With the right ideas, Ava can also revolutionize how people live both at home and in the workplace," he said.  

While it didn't connect the two developments at the show, Google said it had developed Android Open Accessory to help developers start building new hardware accessories that will work across all Android devices. Android@Home, lets Android apps  discover, connect and communicate with appliances and devices in your home. Sounds like AVA will have some work to do.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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