Sphero will make robots for military, police and first responders. The consumer and entertainment robotics firm Sphero, which a few years ago partnered with Disney to create the toy line for JJ Abraham’s new Star Wars trilogy, will now have quite different customers than kids.
The company that stood out for the BB-8 robots and the classic R2-D2, will now be in charge of creating robots for the United States Army and for police units.
This new division of Sphero will be called Company Six (CO6), and will adapt the technology developed within its old Public Safety Division.
According to a press release, the Six company will be “applying the experience used to bring over 4 million robots to market in Sphero” to create products that offer a “lightweight but highly advanced robotic solution that provides critical awareness for those on whom we depend most, including police, fire, EMT, military, and others with dangerous jobs.”
Without giving more details of these new robotic creations, it could be inferred by what other companies in the field do like ReconRobotics and Roboteam, which will be machines with facial recognition, surveillance cameras, equipped with flexible skeletons and wheels to crawl on different surfaces and serve as models of exploration.
The agreement that Sphero had with Disney ended in 2018, after economic disagreements. From then on, the company was working in the educational field making STEM robots for programming.
According to information collected by The Verge, “the former CEO of the company, Paul Berberian will become president of both companies, while the former chief operating officer of Sphero, Jim Booth, will become the new CEO of Company Six. Both men have a military background. In a press release, Booth said Company Six’s mission was to build “powerful and affordable technology that we can put into the hands of as many people as possible.”
Robots and drones in the military world are not new, in fact they have already debuted in US armed conflicts in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. The police have also used them in the current coronavirus pandemic to protect the population.