Bedford, Massachusetts-based iRobot is expanding its relationship with Santa Barbara, California-based InTouch Health, a remote presence telemedicine solution provider by investing $6 million, which represents iRobot taking a minority position in the company.
Back in July 2011, the two firms announced a joint development and licensing agreement, which was established to explore opportunities for healthcare applications on iRobot platforms, such as the iRobot Ava mobile robotics platform.
InTouch Health provides telemedicine solutions and expertise designed to enable doctors to consult with patients in real-time, regardless of the distance between them. Using an online portal, doctors can access telemedicine devices from wherever they are located to provide care anywhere patients might be: homes, clinics, ambulances, and hospital procedure rooms and wards. The InTouch telemedicine network is powered through its SureConnect cloud-based infrastructure.
According to a press release, InTouch Health will provide access to FDA regulated healthcare facilities, granting iRobot an initial foray into hospitals, emergency care facilities, patient wards and operating and procedure rooms.
iRobot Chairman and CEO Colin Angle feels the partnership will create a situation where patients and elderly consumers of assistive technologies would benefit greatly. “Currently operating in over eighty hospitals in the U.S. and around the world, InTouch is in a very unique position as one of the first developers of FDA-cleared telemedicine devices,” Angle said.
Yulun Wang, chairman and CEO of InTouch Health agrees, and is quick to praise iRobot. “As evident from the demonstrations of Ava, iRobot is the industry leader in navigation, mobility, manipulation and artificial intelligence,” he said. “Working together, InTouch Health and iRobot will pioneer remote presence in healthcare settings, providing anytime anywhere patient care in hospital ICU’s, patient wards and operating and procedure rooms.”