BB-8 toy robot maker spins off robotics startup for first responders
Sphero is perhaps best known for its mini Star Wars droids, but the company also makes edutainment bots for kids. And now the firm has turned its Public Safety Division into a brand new company focused on developing robots and AI software for emergency personnel, government and defense clients, and folks with dangerous jobs.
It's been a few years since the BB-8 rolled out, and Sphero has since focused on educational toys, hackable robot platforms, music-making wearables and more. Former CEO Paul Berberian and COO Jim Booth also opted to put their military backgrounds to good use and started the Public Safety Division to create tools for "first responders and those who put themselves in harm's way." Booth will now serve as CEO for the new spin off, named Company Six, while Berberian will assume the roll of chairman for both Sphero and the new startup.
Company Six has already raised US$3 million in seed funding to commercialize and market its new products. The idea is to develop and build "powerful and affordable" robotic systems and secure cloud-based analytics and monitoring platforms to help keep civilian and military personnel safe, provide situational awareness and aid in decision making in the field. The startup hopes to "fundamentally transform the way first responders operate in dangerous environments."
"Our team is excited to build critically-needed robotic hardware and advanced software solutions that help first responders and people with dangerous jobs," said Booth. "Our mission is to build powerful and affordable technology that we can put in the hands of as many people as possible."
Exactly what will spawn from the new venture and when the first products will result remain to be seen.