It may look like the popular Roomba vacuum cleaner as it scoots across the living-room floor, but iRobot’s new ConnectR is actually a way for people to interact with distant relatives or pets. The robot is equipped with a Wi-Fi antenna, a speaker, a microphone, and a tilting, zooming video camera. A remote user can pilot the robot over the Internet, carrying on long-distance conversations and watching video of live events.
Credit: Joshua Scott
Product: ConnectR Virtual Visiting Robot
Cost: Around $500 in a mid-2008 pilot program
Other products in this section:
Subscribe to Continue Reading
Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.
We Need Computers with Empathy
An emerging trend in artificial intelligence is to get computers to detect how we’re feeling and respond accordingly. They might even help us develop more compassion for one another.
AlphaGo Zero Shows Machines Can Become Superhuman Without Any Help
An upgraded version of the game-playing AI teaches itself every trick in the Go book, using a new form of machine learning.
Andrew Ng Has a Chatbot That Can Help with Depression
Woebot combines cognitive behavior therapy with advances in natural language to create a virtual counselor.