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iRobot unveils robotic navigator

January 10, 2012 01:43 PM ET
Irobot navigator
iRobot's robotic navigator can move up to two meters per second. The company envisions it being used as a guide to help visitors find their way through a company or a hospital. (Photo by Sharon Gaudin / Computerworld)

Computerworld - Ever wish you had someone to help visitors find their way through your business or to guide executives through a manufacturing plant?

Well, iRobot may be developing the robotic guide for you.

The Bedford, Mass.-based company probably best known for its Roomba robotic vacuum, was at the Pepcom showcase, held in conjunction with CES, Monday night offering a glimpse at a robot -- dubbed Ava -- which is in development.

Mark Chiappetta, a vice president with iRobot, said Ava is designed to navigate through a cluttered environment and can move up to two meters per second. The robot uses a mapping system and about 20 sensors, including 3-D imaging sensors and a laser range finder.

Chiappetta said he envisions Ava being used by a hospital to guide visiting specialists to labs, offices and patient rooms.

Want more on CES? See our roundup of everything you need to know from CES and our interactive chart of top CES product launches.

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Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at Twitter @sgaudin, on or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed Gaudin RSS. Her e-mail address is

Read more about Emerging Technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.

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