January 24, 2013
On Thursday, Roomba and PackBot maker iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT ) announced it has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to deploy its new RP-VITA Remote Presence Robot for use in hospitals -- a first in the nascent field of telemedicine.
RP-VITA, a joint project between iRobot and telemedicine "solutions" provider InTouch Health, is described as being a robot featuring "the latest in autonomous navigation and mobility technologies developed by iRobot with state-of-the-art telemedicine and electronic health record integration developed by InTouch Health."
In a press release, iRobot explained that the robot can be used, for example, for remote doctor-to-patient consults, in which "a doctor can visit a patient, and communicate with hospital staff and patients with a single click" on the RP-VITA's onboard iPad control panel. InTouch will be responsible for selling the robot to hospitals. iRobot, meanwhile, will focus on exploring "adjacent market opportunities for robots such as RP-VITA and the iRobot Ava mobile robotics platform."
iRobot shares are up 11.4% on the news, at $23.51.