Fifty years after The Jetsons gave Americans a futuristic world of flying cars and the robot housekeeper Rosie, technology is starting to catch up with fantasy. Next year, the Massachusetts company iRobot plans to roll out Ava, a 5-foot-4 personal assistant with an iPad or an Android tablet for a brain and Xbox motion sensors to help her get around. Early versions will cost in the tens of thousands of dollars and will be used mostly in hospitals, but investments from technology giants like Apple and Google could make such robots less expensive over time. In the past decade, iRobot has developed some impressive bots, from the Roomba vacuum cleaner to bomb-disposal models for protecting American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. But getting machines to mimic human behaviors is difficult. The hope is that Ava's video and computing advances will allow it to someday handle most household chores-maybe even washing our flying cars.
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|Title Annotation:||Technology; iRobot's Ava|
|Publication:||New York Times Upfront|
|Article Type:||Brief article|
|Date:||May 14, 2012|
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