iRobot Corp gets FDA OK for new line of robots

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Bedfords iRobot Corp, best known for its Roomba vacuum cleaners, has won the approval of Food and Drug Administration approval for the new line of robo...

Bedford’s iRobot Corp, best known for its Roomba vacuum cleaners, has won the approval of Food and Drug Administration approval for the new line of robots designed to let the doctors interact with hospital patients remotely.

The sleek, 5-foot-6 inch robot has been designed to navigate around hospitals on its own and has a 15 inch LCD screen as a face. This represents the early stages of a big push by iRobot into the healthcare market as the defense side of its business continues to contract.

The first RP-VITA robots that will cost the hospitals between $4,000 and $6,000 a month to operate, could begin appearing in medical centers throughout the country in the next few months.

Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, said, “We think it‘s the beginning of an amazing new phase for the use of robots in telemedicine.”

Mr. Angle has developed the robots in collaboration with InTouch Health Inc, a Santa Barbara, Calif, company that is one of the pioneers in telemedicine systems. Hospitals use telemedicine to allow the specialists to diagnose patients from long distances.

IRobot started a partnership with InTouch Health about a year ago when it invested $6 million to buy a minority stake in the company. IRobots’ RP-VITA, that is the first FDA-approved telemedicine robot that uses autonomous movement technology, will have to compete with a growing number of robots entering the health care market.

IRobot has cut down its workforce over the past year or so in anticipation of additional cuts in military spending, which would mean less sales of products like the robots designed for the bomb removal.

iRobot Corp is a leader in delivering robotic technology is a leader in delivering robotic technology-based solutions and makes a difference in people’s lives. 

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