Talking Heads

The maker of Roomba creates a roboboss. There's no place to hide

Irobot is the company best known for the Roomba, a disk-shaped, autonomous vacuum cleaner. But iRobot has also deployed robots in settings as dangerous as war zones in Iraq and the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Now the company's founder and CEO, Colin Angle, wants to sell devices for another harsh environment--the office.

It's part of a broader industry effort to combine robotics and teleconferencing. In 2011 robotics firm VGo launched a telepresence robot that is helping doctors monitor patients after they've left the hospital. Vancouver-based Xaxxon Technologies' Oculus robot is being used in security patrols.

Angle doesn't foresee the Ava 500...

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