iRobot Corp. (Nasdaq: IRBT) announced a sole licensing agreement with UW TechTransfer at the University of Washington to commercialize Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Seaglider technology previously supported by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation. The agreement with both the Applied Physics Laboratory and School of Oceanography reinforces the company’s strong ties to world class academics. iRobot made the announcement from the show floor of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International’s (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems North America 2008 conference (iRobot Booth #1121) at the San Diego Convention Center.
“We have a strong track record for transferring new technology from research initiatives into products that support military missions,” said Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairman of iRobot. “Ten years ago we transformed the original PackBot into a combat-proven robot used today by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and licensing the Seaglider from the University of Washington will help our robots conquer new underwater frontiers.”
Seagliders help civilian, academic and military personnel make oceanographic measurements at a fraction of the cost of traditional research vessels or moored instruments. These long-range, high-endurance vehicles economize on energy consumption with a buoyancy-based propulsion system to support mission ranges of thousands of kilometers and deployments lasting up to several months. Instruments can be attached to the Seaglider to continuously collect oceanic physical properties across a range of depths and areas, providing valuable insights to oceanographers and military planners.
“This is a wonderful example of the University of Washington’s commitment to build partnerships with industry, and to successfully transfer innovative research to the commercial sector,” said Russell McDuff, director of the School of Oceanography. “Our federal sponsors expect the university to be able to transition technology from the academic laboratory into the marketplace. We’re delighted to have formed a great relationship with iRobot and are convinced that their strength in building autonomous robots is a great fit for the Seaglider technology.”
The Office of Naval Research funded the original research and development behind Seaglider technology beginning in 1995 and is currently testing this vehicle for additional applications. More than 70 Seagliders have been delivered and many are currently in operation all over the world. Recent deployments include waters off Norway, Greenland, Taiwan, the Philippines and Iceland.
About UW TechTransfer
Established in 1982, UW TechTransfer facilitates the commercialization of new innovations arising from UW research through the management and licensing of intellectual property. Since the department’s founding, UW TechTransfer has helped create more than 235 companies in Washington state and abroad. In FY07, UW TechTransfer generated $38 million in total revenue from all sources. Additionally, UW TechTransfer manages a total patent portfolio of over 2000 issued and pending patents filed in the U.S. and around the world. For additional information about UW TechTransfer, visit http://depts.washington.edu/techtran/.
About iRobot Corp.
iRobot is a provider of robots that perform dull, dirty or dangerous missions in a better way. The company’s proprietary technology, iRobot AWARE™ Robot Intelligence Systems, incorporates advanced concepts in navigation, mobility, manipulation and artificial intelligence. This proprietary system enables iRobot to build behavior-based robots, including its family of consumer and military robots. For additional information about iRobot, visit http://www.irobot.com.
For iRobot Investors
Certain statements made in this press release that are not based on historical information are forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This press release contains express or implied forward-looking statements relating to, among other things, iRobot Corp.’s expectations concerning management’s plans, objectives and strategies. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. iRobot Corp. undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by iRobot Corp., see the disclosure contained in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, without limitation, our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K
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