The AVA telepresence robot prototype was introduced at CES 2011; it has an iPad for a head (apparently, it can use an Android tablet as well) so you can program it to do what you want. It also has a sensor system that is similar to that used by the Kinect used with Microsoft's Xbox.
The device could be used for game development, or for telepresence robotics.
(iRobot AVA telepresence robot)
"AVA is a practical mobility platform. It has an iPad on the 'head' - if you can program an iPad, you can program a robot. It has a very sophisticated navigation system so you can drive it around your home or drive it around your office. It can make a map... you can tap on the map and your robot will go there.
"It has a whole array of sensors... so if it comes up to a table, or if a kid comes up to it, the robot will know it. So it's very safe and understands its environment.
iRobot CEO and co-founder Colin Angle
SF readers may recall the robot probes from Niven and Pournelle's 1981 novel Oath of Fealty. In the novel, the chief engineer uses robot probes to be several places at once in a huge arcology.
at led to his development of robot probes; small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely through Todos Santos under Rand's direct control. If he sent out two or three of the small tele-operated devices (he called them Arr-twos after the small droid in Star Wars), Rand could effectively be in several places at once...
(Read more about robot probes)
Learn more about the wide variety of this new field in my earlier article Telepresence Robotics Roundup. If iRobot is getting ready to enter this area, you can bet that there is a good business case for this kind of device.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/9/2011)