iRobot unveils multi-bot tablet controller, improved networking

iRobot unveils multi-bot tablet controller, improved networking

iRobot recently announced its first multi-robot tablet controller for first responders, defense forces and industrial customers.

The uPoint Multi-Robot Control (MRC) system Android tablet app and enhanced communications simplify robot operations, including driving, manipulation and inspection, allowing operators to focus more on the mission at hand.

The uPoint MRC system is currently compatible with a range of ruggedized and consumer-based Android-based touchscreen tablets. Features include:

  • A virtual joystick that allows users to touch and drag anywhere on the main video feed to steer the robot.
  • Data sharing from the operator's controller to other team members or remote observers and the ability to use the same tablet to switch between different robots operating in the vicinity.
  • Video recording that can capture digital evidence and upload it to the cloud or a secure network.
  • The ability to perform key tasks from the Android device, including consulting reference materials, checking email and using other non-robot related mission apps.

"Success as a robot operator during high-stress, critical operations depends on precise and reliable control, so the interface needs to be intuitive," said Frank Wilson, senior vice president and general manager of iRobot's Defense & Security business unit. "The uPoint MRC system drives mission effectiveness by decreasing training time and increasing overall ease of use. With uPoint, you point and the robot goes."

The uPoint MRC system also features the uPoint Robot Radio, which takes advantage of  frequency agility – the ability to automatically switch away from congested frequencies – power management and mesh networking to form a network where robots, operators and observers can work seamlessly together.

iRobot also announced that the Naval Surface Warfare Center has ordered 46 of its Man Transportable Robotic Systems (MTRS), including upgrades and spares. MTRS is modeled after the company's multi-mission iRobot 510 PackBot, which is used to perform a variety of missions, including explosive ordnance disposal, surveillance and reconnaissance, and HazMat handling.

The uPoint MRC system will be available beginning in Q2 2015. 

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