Spin Master Introduces Owleez™,The First Ever Interactive Toy Pet That Kids Can Teach How to Fly

TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2019 /CNW/ – Spin Master Corp. (TSX: TOY; www.spinmaster.com), a leading children’s entertainment company, announced today the launch of Owleez, the first ever interactive toy pet that kids can teach how to fly. The adorable baby owl combines the ultimate trifecta of coveted features; unique pet, interactive nurturing toy and the magic of flight, but it needs the help of a child to fly.

Addy & Maya, from YouTube family Tic Tac Toy (CNW Group/Spin Master)

With over 100 interactive sounds and movements, the baby owl responds to touch, love and care. By swinging her through the air, children can teach her how to fly.  Watch her soar or comfort her after a crash, Owleez is made of durable and lightweight materials so when she crashes it’s okay, it’s all part of the learning experience. 

„We are incredibly excited to introduce Owleez, our first ever interactive toy pet that can fly,“ says Kate Keller, VP Marketing RC. „The combination of an interactive toy pet that children can actually teach how to fly is truly innovative. It’s extremely satisfying for kids to see the result of the love and care they put into their own Owleez toy pet. They experience the delight and reward knowing it is something that they taught it to do.“

Spin Master is committed to uncovering the latest trends that push the boundaries of fun. The company’s research team did some digging to get to the bottom of what kids really want and Owleez delivers just that. Eighty-one per cent of kids surveyed said they wanted a pet that could fly while an overwhelming 91% chose flying as the super hero power they most desired*.

To introduce Owleez, Spin Master is teaming up with popular YouTube family Tic Tac Toy for the creation of commercials and how-to content. The kids, Addy and Maya, star in the commercial and reveal the Owleez baby owl in their own unboxing video on their channel. How-to content with Addy and Maya is also available on Spin Master Spark Club YouTube Channel.

Owleez is already taking off, being named a top holiday toy by Target, landing coveted spots on Walmart’s Top Rated by Kids List and UK retailer Argos as well as receiving the Toy of the Year Award from the Revue de Jouet in France.

Owleez will be available on October 4, 2019 at major retailers for a suggested retail price of $49.99. Recommend for children ages 6+. For more information on Owleez visit spinmaster.com or follow @SpinMasterSparkClub on Instagram.

About Spin Master
Spin Master (TSX:TOY; www.spinmaster.com) is a leading global children’s entertainment company that creates, designs, manufactures, licenses and markets a diversified portfolio of innovative toys, games, products and entertainment properties. Spin Master is best known for award-winning brands including Zoomer®, Bakugan®, Erector® by Meccano®, Hatchimals®, Air Hogs® and PAW Patrol®. Since 2000, Spin Master has received 103 TIA Toy of The Year (TOTY) nominations with 30 wins across a variety of product categories, including 13 TOTY nominations for Innovative Toy of the Year.  To date, Spin Master has produced nine television series, including the relaunched Bakugan: Battle Planet and current hit PAW Patrol, which is broadcast in over 160 countries and territories globally.  Spin Master employs over 1,800 people in countries around the world including Canada, United States, Mexico, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Australia.

*Spin Master surveyed a group of 159 girls between the ages of 6-8 years old. Participants were selected from the Funovation Panel, a community of families from across the U.S. and Canada that provide their feedback about potential new toys, television shows, commercials, and much more.
Owleez takes flight on October 4 (CNW Group/Spin Master)

Hanson Robotics Announces “Little Sophia,” New Educational STEM Companion For Kids 7 to 13

Worldwide Kickstarter Campaign Launches to Fund Production of Little Sophia The Robot

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — Hanson Robotics Limited (www.hansonrobotics.com), creator of the world’s most human-like robots, announces their next innovation in consumer robots: Little Sophia. Little Sophia is a tutorial companion that teaches STEM, coding, and Artificial intelligence (AI), with a playful personality and unmatched characteristics of the renowned Sophia the Robot.

Designed for kids (especially girls) ages 7-13, Little Sophia robot comes to life as your AI friend. With the power of character and storytelling, Little Sophia helps kids learn new things in robotics, science, technology engineering, math, coding, and AI. Kids can learn to program Sophia with Blockly and Python; and with her lessons on computer vision, deep learning, and robotics, Little Sophia is the perfect smart, educational companion. Moreover, Little Sophia interfaces with Raspberry Pi, allowing kids to learn electronics and robotics, and to help her become as smart and capable as their imagination will allow.

Standing 14’’ tall, Little Sophia makes dozens of facial expressions (happy, sad, surprise, grouchy, delighted, etc), and she sees and talks with you like a friend. She walks, talks, sings, tells stories and jokes, and recognizes faces. She not only responds to commands, but actively engages in conversations and follows your movement. Also, with her app on your phone, you can use her Augmented Reality (AR) feature to take fun selfies. With her smart software, Little Sophia is also the ultimate AI home assistant. And being an open platform for development of ever-smarter emotional AI, the Little Sophia is truly your friend for life.

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Little Sophia Kickstarter campaign to the public, and to provide an opportunity to empower young girls around the world by introducing STEM, coding and AI in a fun and adventurous way,” states Jeanne Lim, CEO of Hanson Robotics Limited. “Little Sophia delivers a high-quality, entertaining and educational experience that motivates and inspires young students to spend time learning with her.”

David Hanson, Founder of Hanson Robotics Limited adds, “Our vision at Hanson Robotics is to bring robots to life. Our team of AI developers, engineers, roboticists, scientists, and artists have designed Little Sophia with the expressiveness and engaging personality that made Sophia the Robot so appealing, further extending the reach of our character-driven AI technology.”

Hanson Robotics is launching a worldwide Kickstarter campaign to help bring Little Sophia to the world. Research has shown that over 75% of girls who participate in hands-on STEM activities outside the classroom feel a sense of empowerment, if it is encouraged and nurtured early in a child’s educational life. Hanson Robotics believes that being introduced to STEM, coding and AI as a child in a fun and interactive way will help to empower all children, but especially girls. Little Sophia, unlike other educational toys in the market, was crafted by the same prestigious scientists, roboticists, engineers and AI developers who built Sophia the Robot.

Please visit Little Sophia on our website and our Kickstarter campaign for more information.

About Hanson Robotics Limited
Hanson Robotics is an AI and robotics company dedicated to creating living, intelligent machines that enrich people’s lives. The company develops renowned robot characters, such as Sophia, the world’s first robot citizen, which serve as AI platforms for scientific research, education, healthcare, sales and service, entertainment, and other research and service applications.  Hanson Robotics’ scientists, artists, roboticists, and engineers strive to bring robots to life as true friends who deeply understand and care for people, and collaborate with us in pursuit of ever-greater good for all. For more information please visit www.hansonrobotics.com.

Sony Announces Limited First Litter Edition Release of aibo in U.S.

NEW YORK, Aug. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Electronics Inc. today revealed plans to offer a special First Litter Edition of its acclaimed aibo autonomous robotic „puppy“ companion in the United States. Following the recent reintroduction of aibo in Japan, Sony’s First Litter Edition for the U.S. will be a limited, all-in-one aibo bundle that includes the aibo1, a three-year AI Cloud Plan2, a fun assortment of aibo toys, and an individually numbered commemorative dog tag.

First introduced in 1999, the latest design of aibo is the sixth generation of Sony’s beloved companion robot. Unlike previous versions, it pairs cutting-edge robotics with a new, cloud-connected artificial intelligence (AI) engine and advanced image sensors, giving aibo the ability to learn and recognize faces. As aibo interacts with people over time, it develops its own unique personality through everyday interactions, enabling it to remember what actions make its owner happy and form a deep bond with members of the household.

No two aibo companion robots are the same. Each owner’s approach to raising their aibo shapes its personality, behavior and knowledge, creating a unique environment for growth. In fact, aibo is able to learn new tricks through owners‘ interactions, experiences with changing seasons and different events. Not content to sit and wait to be beckoned, aibo will actively seek out its owners and can recognize their faces. It can also detect words of praise and smiles, as well as react to being petted or scratched on the head.

„This is truly a one-of-a-kind product designed to connect with its owners on an emotional level,“ said Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics North America. „aibo’s charming personality, dog-like behaviors and ability to intelligently interact with family members help to create a personal bond. Bringing aibo back to the U.S. reflects Sony’s broader commitment to provide consumers with products that not only entertain them, but also enrich their lives.“

To create such a loveable, expressive and life-like robo-puppy, Sony integrated a wide range of sensors, cameras and actuators to bring aibo to life. Ultra-compact 1- and 2-axis actuators give aibo’s body the freedom to move along a total of 22 axes. Its adaptable behavior is made possible through deep learning AI technology in the form of built-in sensors that can detect and analyze sounds and images. aibo’s whimsical body language is expressed through a combination of eye, ear, and tail movements, as well as different voice sounds. In addition, two OLED displays are utilized for aibo’s eyes and give the appearance of blinking and closing, allowing for diverse, nuanced expressions.

Like any pup, aibo enjoys playing with a variety of toys. Sony’s First Litter Edition aibo will arrive with a pink ball, an „aibone,“ paw pads and charging station. Users can also take their aibo experience to the next level with the „My aibo1 2“ app.  In addition to accessing system settings and owner information, the app’s handy user interface allows owners to check out and share their aibo’s pictures, as well as add „tricks“ to its repertoire. The app is packed with fun-filled features—even for people who don’t have an aibo of their own.

The three-year AI Cloud Plan2 included in the First Litter Edition bundle enables aibo to upload its day-to-day life experiences to Sony’s leading-edge AI engine. This database of memories is accessed to form each aibo’s unique personality, which grows and evolves over time. The aibo AI Cloud Plan also enables users to enjoy the full range of aibo features via Wi-Fi connection at home or a mobile connection on the go.

Sony’s latest generation aibo is one of the products of the Company’s broader commitment to technology innovation, particularly in the areas of AI, robotics and image sensing. This commitment has enabled Sony to achieve other innovations in these areas, such as its Neural Network Console, an integrated software development environment for creating deep learning programs for artificial intelligence; Sony’s recent agreement with Carnegie Mellon University to collaborate on artificial intelligence and robotics research; and the introduction of a compact CMOS image sensor with resolution rivaling SLR cameras.

By looking for new ways to bring joy to people’s lives through technology innovation, such as with aibo, Sony is staying true to its philosophy of Kando – creating an emotional connection with Sony’s customers. Similarly, the company has designed aibo’s packaging from 50 percent post-consumer recycled plastic as a reflection of its commitment to environmental sustainability.

aibo First Litter Edition with accessory bundle and three-year AI Cloud Plan will be available for purchase in September 2018 at a suggested retail price of $2,899, with delivery in time for the holidays. Additional details will be announced in the coming weeks. To get the latest aibo updates via email and find additional information on fun aibo features and accessories, visit us.aibo.com

aibo will be exhibited at Sony Square NYC from August 24th to October 14th. The exhibit is open to the public and is the only place to experience aibo before it goes on sale.

About Sony Electronics Inc.
Sony Electronics is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America and an affiliate of Sony Corporation (Japan), one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world, with a portfolio that encompasses electronics, music, motion pictures, mobile, gaming and financial services. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sony Electronics is a leader in electronics for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony Electronics creates products that innovate and inspire generations, such as the award-winning Alpha Interchangeable Lens Cameras and revolutionary high-resolution audio products. Sony is also a leading manufacturer of end-to-end solutions from 4K professional broadcast and A/V equipment to industry leading 4K Ultra HD TVs. Visit www.sony.com/news for more information.

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1 „My aibo“ will be available at Google Play and the App Store from the day on which the aibo is shipped. A web browser version is also available at the same time. Network services, content, and the operating system and software of this Product may be subject to individual terms and conditions and changed, interrupted or discontinued at any time and may require fees, registration and credit card information.

2 aibo and aibo AI Cloud Plan subscription required to fully enjoy all features of „My aibo.“ App

My Best-friend ARTIBO

Introducing Cubroid’s second robot project: ARTIBO! Cubroid originally launched in 2017 with its AI educational Coding Blocks and is back with a new robot for coders, non-coders, kids and adults all alike. Only having been showcased at trade fairs such as The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and The Mobile World Congress (MWC) so far, Cubroid will now make Artibo available to general consumers.

Currently robots trendy among those with interest in such technology. However, going forward, robots will have a huge influence on people’s daily lives as a whole. “We put our best effort forward to make everyone who is interested in robotics have an opportunity to easily enjoy this robot. That’s why being well-designed and functional is key in how Artibo was created” says CEO and Founder, Mark Shin.

Artibo is your very own AI best-friend, designed to make daily life that much more simple. An at-home assistant that is small enough to fit anywhere and also efficient enough to go anywhere you go.

Artibo comes with an AI block (which houses the camera, microphone, speaker and LED screen), a motor block, a connector block (to join the AI and motor block) and silicon wheels.

When all the pieces are connected, Artibo stands at approximately 97mm tall and weighs less than a pound (240g) – with the AI block weighing less than half a pound

With separate (but buildable) parts, you can separate the AI block and place it on your desk while you work or connect all the parts and have Artibo follow you from one room to the next. With Artibo, buying multiple to have one in every room is unnecessary.

The features you would like your Artibo to display are customizable from a list of features such as walkie-talkie, scheduler, music, voice recognition, and many more. Each feature having a corresponding display that is shown on the LED screen.

Keeping with the core of what Cubroid does, you can also code Artibo for even more personable interactions and functionality. Kids can also continue their coding education from coding with Cubroid Coding Block to now coding with Artibo.

On Kickstarter preorder of Artibo will be available from July 31st 2018 to September 30th 2018. With Super Early Bird prices starting as low as US$79. Artibo’s prices are set so low to give as many people as possible the opportunity to afford and experience such a robot. After achieving the set goal, Cubroid estimates manufacturing and delivery to be completed by the end of November 2018. We proudly introduce you to your own AI robot: Artibo!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cubroid/my-best-friend-artibo

The Duckietown Foundation announces the AI Driving Olympics (AI-DO), a self-driving car competition to debut at NIPS 2018

The Duckietown Foundation is excited to announce the The AI Driving Olympics, a new competition focused around AI for self-driving cars. The first edition of the AI Driving Olympics 2018 will take place December 7, 2018, at Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), the premiere machine learning conference, in Montréal. This is the first competition with real robots that will take place at a machine learning conference.

The competition will use the Duckietown platform, a miniature self-driving car platform used for autonomy education and research. The Duckietown project originated at MIT in 2016 and is now used by many institutions worldwide.

The AI Driving Olympics is presented in collaboration with 6 academic institutions: ETH Zürich (Switzerland), Université de Montréal (Canada), National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan), Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (USA), Tsinghua University (China) and Georgia Tech (USA), as well as two industry co-organizers: nuTonomy (a self-driving car company) and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

About the competition: The competition comprises 4 challenges of increasing complexity: 1) Road following on an empty road; 2) Road following with obstacles; 3) Point to point navigation in a city network with other vehicles; and 4) Fleet planning for a full autonomous mobility on demand system.

Competitors will have access to a suite of professional development tools (simulators, logs, baseline implementations). Real environments called “Robotariums” will be remotely accessible for evaluation. The highest scoring entries in the robotariums will be run during the live event at NIPS 2018 to determine the overall winners.

Scientific goals: The competition aims at directing academic research towards the hard problems of embodied AI, such as modularity of learning processes, and learning in simulation while deploying in reality.  

Social goals: The competition also promotes the democratization of AI and robotics research by using an inexpensive platform, and offering a common infrastructure available through the use of remote testing facilities. Competitors can also build or acquire their own testing facility (Duckiebots and a Duckietowns), through either open-source DIY instructions, or as rewards obtained in our kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/163162211/duckietown-a-playful-road-to-learning-robotics-and?ref=dwrnb2)