Have we finally reached a nexus today that combines culture, and trends, and affordable technology to make consumer robotics a viable market opportunity? The June forum will examine market and venture capital investment opportunities in the category of consumer robotics.

The Japan Robotics Association forecasts the worldwide robotics market (service and personal) to double in size over the next five years, approaching nearly $13 billion. Most recently, consumers have warmed up to robotics, early on with the likes of Furby, a plush toy that exhibited realistic form-factors and Lego Mindstorms, the programmable play set. The latest consumer robotics to hit the shelves include Robosapien, an affordable, mass-marketed humanoid robot, and Roomba, a robotic vacuum, and its sidekick, Scooba, a floor-scrubbing mechanical disk.

Startup Ugobe, creators of Pleo, a genetic descendant of Furby, develops robotic technology that transforms inanimate objects into creatures capable of exhibiting life-like movements and behaviors. Similar to the Terminator's advanced robots, Pleo supersedes Furby's single motor and microprocessor, sporting 8 processors that control 14 motors and receive signals from 38 sensors. It can also write its own code as it learns from its own experiences.

The driving vision behind the Ugobe team is to marry people's emotional connections with technology. With consumers embracing virtual avatars and characters, such as Lara Croft and Super Mario, is there a budding opportunity to make screen-to-table products that are brand extensions of popular virtual characters? Come join this forward-thinking event, as VLAB brings moderator Chris Shipley (Executive Producer of DEMO) and a panel of experts to discuss and debate how to form a business model that works.


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Added by FullCalendar on June 16, 2006

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