Monday, July 13, 2009

Bossa Nova Penbo: The "First Real Robot for Girls" Is a Pink, Waddling Penguin With a Baby

The adorable pink counterpart to Prime-8,
Penbo is supposedly the "first real robot for girls." It uses the same
locomotion tech derived from the buggy RHex robot, but cutified so it
And yes, it has a baby. Called Bebe. Cute overload, for sure. Unlike
Prime-8, it's not strictly remote-controlled—it responds to touch and
voice and...the baby, which is the closest thing it has to a remote
control, since it'll summon Penbo and interact and play games with it.
Penbo responds differently to different color babies—there are 4
colors, each with around 21 features.

But really, the best feature is the Penbo dance, which you can see
in the video above: Put two together and they waddlewaddlewaddle. Which
is how I guess they make more babies.

Penbo will hit QVC with Prime-8 on July 25, then Amazon later on, for $80.




Affordable Robots Feature Revolutionary 'Ani-Motion' Technology And Encourage Interactive Play

PITTSBURGH - July 9, 2009 - After four years of development, Bossa
Nova Robotics, a Pittsburgh-based, robotics company and spinoff from
Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Robotics Institute, today unveiled
its first line of personal entertainment robots. Combining the magic of
agile robots with a rich play experience, Bossa Nova presented two
interactive and enriching biped robots modeled after the way kids play:
Prime-8, a fast-paced gorilla robot, and Penbo, an adorable penguin
with baby robot.

Bossa Nova's launch comes on the heels of the opening of Carnegie
Science Center's roboworld™, the world's largest permanent robotics
exhibition, and further establishes Pittsburgh's position as the
nation's hub for robotics education, research and development. Penbo
and Prime-8 will be used in roboworld's innovative Robot Workshop to
help visitors understand the many uses of robotic technology beyond
familiar industrial environments and experience the many ways robots
are already in their homes.

Bossa Nova's robots evolved from RHex, a fast-moving, agile, hexapod
robot which was developed from 1999 to 2004 as a collaboration between
the CMU Robotics Institute and the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA). RHex provided the platform for Bossa Nova's
'Ani-Motion' robotic technology - a revolutionary lifelike robotic
mechanism loosely based on animalistic locomotion. With a vision to
bring personal robots to every home, Bossa Nova spent four years
further developing the RHex technology to make it affordable and
capable of age-appropriate, robot-human interactivity.

Underlining Bossa Nova's research and product development is the Japan
Robotics Association's forecast that the market for personal and
lifestyle robots will grow to $15 billion by 2015. According to United
States ABI Research, approximately 75% of the market is attributed to
entertainment robotics with the majority of sales driven by children's

"The technology behind Prime-8 and Penbo has only previously been seen
in multi-million dollar research projects," said Sarjoun Skaff, CEO,
Bossa Nova, Ph.D Robotics, CMU. "To make this kind of technology
available to children is unprecedented and what we've seen in all of
our focus groups is that both kids and adults are impressed by Penbo
and Prime-8's technology and lifelike movements."

Continued Skaff, "Children's robotics is just the start, in the future
we envisage creating Bossa Nova robots that will change the way we
work, play, learn and stay safe."

Not your primitive primate, Prime-8 mimics the way boys play. Prime-8's
intense interactivity is powered by a battery of sensors that allow him
to respond to people and his environment. Outbound sight and sound
sensors help Prime-8 maneuver around obstacles, respond to questions
with grunts and growls, and express himself. A fast-paced, powerful and
fun gorilla robot with a strong personality, his personality radically
transforms from a friendly, funny gorilla with warm blue eyes to a
‘Gone Bananas!' robot, beating the floor and roaring from the top of
his lungs, with circuits crackling and furious red eyes.

On the other end of the robot spectrum is Penbo, an adorable
interactive and waddling penguin robot who surprises little girls when
she lays an egg. When the egg is opened, out comes Bebe - a tiny baby
penguin that will chirp and communicate with its mother. Penbo is aware
of her surroundings, loves to dance, plays games and talks with Baby in
Penguish, her own language; she responds to touch with blinking eyes,
flapping wings, and cooing sounds and is a perfect robot companion for
little girls to nurture.

Prime-8 will be available to consumers for the first time on QVC on
July 25. Penbo will make her consumer debut on QVC in mid-August. Both
products will be available online on August 1st and on shelves at
retailers nationwide for the holiday season.

About Bossa Nova Robotics

Bossa Nova Robotics has been redefining the robotics industry since
2005. A spinoff from Carnegie Mellon University's Robotic Institute,
Bossa Nova creates enriching entertainment experiences by combining the
magic of agile robots with the power of play. Based in the nation's
robotics capital, Pittsburgh, PA, the Company designs and manufactures
personal robots for consumer use. Bossa Nova was created based on a
dream that kids everywhere would one day have an opportunity to
interact with a new generation of toy robots. Unlike anything on the
market, Bossa Nova's robots showcase a new relationship between
technology and toys. Kids love Bossa Nova's robots because they're
exciting and funny; parents love them because they have a
family-friendly play pattern. In the coming years, Bossa Nova will
apply its robotics expertise to security, health, education and home
care markets. For more information about Bossa Nova Robotics, please

Article Link

No comments: