Breakthrough ‘’Micro-GPS’’ Solution from Evolution Robotics Featured on WowWee’s New Rovio Robot
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Jan 18, 2008
Evolution Robotics, Inc. announced the introduction of a major breakthrough that marks the start of a new era of “super smart” robots for the consumer market. For the first time publicly, the company unveiled its NorthStar 2.0 system, which enables robots to be truly aware of their environment and perform everyday tasks with complete autonomy. The first product to use NorthStar will be WowWee Group Limited’s new Rovio(TM) telepresence robot, which debuts at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas. WowWee, an Optimal Group company (NASDAQ:OPMR), is a leading designer, developer, marketer and distributor of innovative hi-tech consumer robotic and entertainment products.

NorthStar works like a combination GPS, RADAR and autopilot system rolled into one. It’s designed to operate in everyday places like a home or office. So instead of showing you what exit to take on the highway, it guides your robot along a route that you establish, i.e. from your living room to a specific location in the kitchen. The system also represents a major breakthrough in price, coming in at 1/100th to 1/1000th the cost of equivalent systems used in research and industrial applications.

“These are aerospace grade technologies being introduced at consumer prices,” said Dr. Paolo Pirjanian, president and CEO of Evolution Robotics. “NorthStar will have a very profound impact on the robotics market, starting with new products in 2008 and rapidly expanding in 2009.”

The list of new products in development includes:

-- A new generation of intelligent floor care robots that clean better, faster and far more efficiently than any product currently on the market

-- Super smart toys that interact with kids at blazingly fast speeds and bring video game action to life into the real world

-- Telepresence robots (such as the new WowWee Rovio robot) that allow the user to connect to the home or office while away and check if everything is ok

“NorthStar is clearly a market changing technology and we’re very proud to have WowWee’s Rovio robot lead the way,” said Davin Sufer, CTO of WowWee Group Limited. “This is the first of many products we plan to launch using NorthStar and I can only say to our customers, prepare to be amazed.”

With NorthStar, Rovio robot will be able to:

-- Let you drive the robot with shortcut “go-to” commands, (i.e. go to the kids’ room) to make it easy to control the robot remotely over the web or from your mobile phone

-- Operate in “patrol mode” and automatically send you pictures of specific locations you want to check, such as making sure your dogs have food in their bowl each morning, or that they weren’t sleeping on the living room couch again

-- Autonomously guide itself back on course if your kids pick it up and move it

-- Navigate to its charging station from anywhere in the house, and dock with pinpoint accuracy, when its batteries run low

“Rovio robot is smart enough to give the Mars Rovers a run for their money,” said Dr. Pirjanian, who worked on NASA robots while at JPL. “We are very excited to be a strategic partner with WowWee and working together to bring robotics into a new era.”

Rovio telepresence robot will be available in the second half of 2008, at a retail price of $299. For more information and to see the latest WowWee products, please visit http://www.wowwee.com.

NorthStar represents the first in a line of breakthrough, low cost robotic components Evolution Robotics is developing to bring smarter robots to the mass market. For more information on NorthStar and other solutions from Evolution Robotics, please go to: http://www.evolution.com.

About Evolution Robotics
Evolution Robotics, Inc. is based in Pasadena, CA, and partners with brand leaders to make their products smarter by providing solutions for vision, autonomous navigation and intelligence. From toys to cell phones and vacuum cleaners to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) the company has over 2 million products on the market through partners such as Sony, Bandai and Sharper Image. Evolution Robotics is an operating company of Idealab, a creator and operator of technology businesses.

Idealab for Evolution Robotics
Teresa Bridwell
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Stephan West
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Mike Rush
360 Public Relations for WowWee
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