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Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Sphero to make more than just toy robots under Misty Robotics

When Sphero started in robotics, it was to help kids learn to code by making very cool, very programmable robotic toys. Now, it’s dreaming bigger.

We’ve all seen the science fiction world where robots help us in all walks of life. If there’s one thematic constant in this genre outside of the “future”, “space”, and “time”, it’s that of “robots”, because they tend to be everywhere you look in science fiction.

They’re friends, they’re warriors, they’re helpers, and they can do so much, but today’s robots aren’t like those found in movies. While physically moving robots help drive the automotive industry, good luck finding a fully automated physical automated helper at home, because you won’t really find The Jetson’s Rosie doing things at home for you yet, unless you can somehow program a robotic vacuum cleaner to do more than suck and sweep dust.

But that could change, and one of the leading providers of edutainment robots and robotic toys wants to have a hand in doing so.

This week, the programmable learning toy maker of Sphero that has recently spread its wings into making less programmable toys is opting to enter the world of autonomous robots designed to help, spinning off into a new division it calls “Misty Robotics”.

Sphero’s SPRK+ helps teach kids to program, but Misty Robotics won’t be making robots for the same reason.

A little different from the original concept of making robots to help kids learn, Misty’s focus will be of finding a place for robots at work and at home, creating autonomous helpers that can interact with humans and also assist them in their tasks, kind of like that science fiction dream films and TV series have long presented.

“Soon robots will be a constant touchpoint throughout our lives, becoming commonplace and serving a variety of purposes that are very different than what exists today,” said Ian Bernstein, one of Sphero’s Co-Founders and the Chief Technology Officer at the company, who will be the Head of Products at Misty Robotics.

“We have a rough idea as to what this will look like from science fiction and glimpses of brilliance that have happened in this space,” he said.

“My vision is for Misty Robotics to lead this charge toward delivering the future we were all promised. We’ve already started to build an amazingly passionate team of roboticists and are looking for more talent to help us build the future.”

What this vision looks like isn’t something Misty Robotics has yet shown, and outside of an elusive robotics image on the Misty webpage, Bernstein and his new team aren’t giving anything away, except to highlight the talent joining the company, which includes individuals experienced in not just robotics, but also integration of smart wireless solutions for the home.

For now, that’s all the preview we’re getting, but here’s hoping this time next year, Sphero’s spin-off will have some glimpse of something that can get us closer to science fiction, and give us all that bit of a helping hand at home.

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