March 23, 2006 To say we think WowWee Robotics has played a pioneering role in the first wave of the consumer robotics revolution is an understatement. Twenty five years from now when the consumer robotics industry is expected to rival the automotive industry in size, Wowwee’s diminutive Robosapien will be seen in the same light as the Model T Ford and the company’s high tech Geppetto, Mark Tilden (pictured with two roboraptors), could well be held in even higher esteem. The price of the company’s “toy” robots belie their capabilities and Robosapien V1 and V2, Roboraptor et al have functionality for which the company could legitimately ask ten times the price – the bargain pricing though has resulted in millions of Wowwee robots being the first to invade the home. The big news is that overnight Evolution Robotics and WowWee announced a strategic alliance to integrate Evolution's ViPR and Northstar technologies into WowWee products. ViPR (Visual Pattern Recognition) provides reliable and fast recognition of patterns, objects, and locations in realistic environments. Northstar, known as "Indoor GPS," is the world's lowest-cost solution for position-awareness for consumer robots, and enables robots to navigate autonomously and intelligently.
"We are excited about joining WowWee to develop a new generation of robotic products that will provide amazing features to consumers," said Paolo Pirjanian, President and Chief Technology Officer of Evolution Robotics. "These new robots will be truly intelligent and autonomous -- a first in mass-market robots."
"Evolution's state-of-the-art robotics technologies are helping us to create products with very advanced and autonomous functions that will benefit our customers and meet their increasingly sophisticated expectations," said Richard Yanofsky, president of WowWee Robotics. "Consumers want intelligent robots that can function autonomously, whether for pure entertainment purposes or to perform useful tasks such as fetching a beer or even helping to carry the groceries. Working closely with Evolution Robotics, we will be able to deliver these capabilities in our next generation of products."
Evolution Robotics was one of the first companies to offer robotic kits, and both the ER1 and ER2 have featured on Gizmag’s pages over the years. Now the company prefers to partner with brand leaders by providing solutions for vision, autonomous navigation and intelligence. These technologies are used worldwide for commercial and consumer use including robotics toys, robotic vacuum cleaners, cell phone applications, and grocery loss prevention together with partners including Sony, Bandai and Sharper Image.
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