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iRobot's Mark Chiappetta on robots in the home: 'There needs to be a practical problem to solve at a price we can solve it'

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Paul Miller interviews iRobot Ava's creator, Mark Chiappetta.

irobot ava
irobot ava

After running the iRobot Ava ragged in The Verge trailer, I sat down with the robot's creator, Mark Chiappetta, for a chat. His team has been working on Ava for roughly two years, building the prototypes by hand, and making incredible progress in navigating environments safely and autonomously. There's still more work to be done, specifically in working with developers to help them build apps on top of the platform, but iRobot seems to be the closest to bringing a practical, do-it-all servant bot to the home of anybody I've talked to. Unfortunately, in addition to the technical challenges (like adding an arm, in my opinion), there's going to be the question of cost and practicality, which iRobot has to solve before putting Ava, or an Ava derivative, on shelves. That beer-from-fridge bot I've been dreaming of might still be a few years out.