Sphero, a toy manufacturer known for making simple, programmable robots for kids, has launched a new spinoff business to develop AI and robotics for law enforcement, first responders, and other government agencies.
The new entity is called Company Six (CO6) and will build on technology Sphero had previously developed through its Public Safety Division.
The company hasn’t announced any clients or new projects, but promises to focus on ‘lightweight, yet highly advanced robotic solution that provides critical awareness for those we depend on the most, including police, fire, EMT, military, and others with dangerous jobs.’
Sphero’s Paul Berberian, who previously served in the US Air Force, will step down from his role as CEO and take a new title as Chairman of both companies, according to a report in CNet.
‘This is an opportunity to continue to bring revolutionary robotics technology to new markets to improve the lives of more people, our future leaders, and people with essential and sometimes dangerous job functions,’ he said in a prepared statement.
Sphero says the company has sold more than four million robots since it was founded in 2010.
The company’s most famous product were remote controlled toy versions of BB-8 and R2-D2 from Star Wars, which it developed as part of a licensing agreement with Disney that expired in 2018.
The company also makes a programmable toy car called RVR, which can be controlled through a smartphone app.
Advanced uses can also create custom code for RVR using Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and littlebits, a simple programming system for kids that Sphero developed.
The toy car comes equipped with ambient color sensors that can detect different hues lights, IR sensors capable of communicating with other robots in the field, and built-in gyroscope to help maintain balance and consistency when repeating move commands.
‘Our team is excited to build critically-needed robotic hardware and advanced software solutions that help first responders and people with dangerous jobs,’ Sphero COO John Booth said in a statement.
‘Our mission is to build powerful and affordable technology that we can put in the hands of as many people as possible.’