iRobot spikes on the Street after FDA OK

iRobot picked up FDA clearance for its autonomous telemedicine device--courtesy of iRobot

Massachusetts' iRobot ($IRBT) soared as much as 11% on Wall Street after news the FDA cleared its RP-VITA, a self-directed telemedicine device that allows physicians to see patients remotely.

The company closed at $23.08 on Thursday and has kept up the pace in early trading Friday, buoyed by excitement over its autonomous robot. The FDA has cleared the RP-VITA for active patient monitoring in pre-operative, peri-operative and post-surgical settings, and iRobot says it has worked for years to perfect the device's sensors and motors to make it fit seamlessly in hectic hospital rooms.

"There are very few environments as difficult to maneuver as that of a busy ICU or emergency department," CEO Colin Angle said in a statement. "Having crossed this technology threshold, the potential for self-navigating robots in other markets, and for new applications, is virtually limitless."

RP-VITA is the first autonomous robot to get the FDA's blessing, iRobot says, and the company developed the technology with InTouch Health, which provided telemedicine and electronic health record-integration. The device interfaces with the iPad, allowing doctors to communicate with communicate with hospital staff and patients no matter their location.

Next comes commercialization, and InTouch has signed on to sell RP-VITA to hospitals as its flagship remote presence device while iRobot explores how to get the device adopted in other markets, the company said.

- read iRobot's announcement