Misty Robotics Inc. today said its Misty II, which it described as “the first professional-grade platform robot,” is now available. The development platform is intended to make it easier for developers, educators, and researchers to develop software and accelerate robotics adoption.
“There are more than 23 million developers around the world, and they are the key to unlocking the future of robots, previously only available to the world of roboticists,” stated Ian Bernstein, founder and head of product at Misty Robotics. “For the price of a computer, developers can bring their code to life and free it from the 2D world of a browser.”
Last December, the Boulder, Colo.-based company (which came out of Orbotics, later named Sphero) raised $11 million in equity funding. In May, Misty Robotics said it would use Microsoft’s .NET Core for both its robotic platform and related tools for building functionality.
“Misty II is a new category of robot — a robotic platform that already has integrated computer vision, sensors, and SLAM,” said Tim Enwall, head of Misty Robotics. “We’re trying to open up robotics development from roboticists to technologists.”
Building on a wide base
In September, Misty II was able to run three skills, thanks to its API Explorer, prebuilt Command Center, and beta tester feedback. The robot could look around, run its sensors in security mode, and drive in a randomized pattern within a bounded square.
Other skills and tasks for the small mobile robot include collecting inventory, environmental monitoring, and engaging people with autism, said Misty Robotics. Misty II is able to work with application programming interfaces (APIs) from Microsoft, Google, and Twilio, and it can be expanded with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and 3D printing.
“We got good feedback about tools on the development part of our site,” Enwall told The Robot Report. “Misty’s skills are triggered by different prompts, and with 16GB and two processors, there’s no practical limit to skills.”
He said that Misty II was designed with four types of people in mind:
- Business developers looking to solve a problem, which the largest potential market
- High school and college teachers looking for a research platform and teaching tool
- Robotics developers working on personal projects, such as something to help an elderly parent
- Developers and consumers who just want to have fun but are price-sensitive
“None of the manufacturers of PCs or smartphones built apps, but VCs are waiting for someone to invent the ‘killer app’ for personal robots,” Enwall added. “Other companies have focused on development tools but not a capable and affordable platform.”
“We are happy to enable the exciting Misty II platform with cutting-edge technologies like our heterogeneous computing architecture, advanced image processing, and on-device AI in our power-efficient IoT chipsets,” said Dev Singh, director of business development and head of robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm Technologies Inc. “We look forward to seeing what people will create with the platform.”
The Robot Report is launching the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, which will be on Dec. 9-10 in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference and expo will focus on improving the design, development, and manufacture of next-generation healthcare robots. Learn more about the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, and registration is now open.
Misty II now shipping
Boulder, Colo.-based Misty Robotics started shipping Misty II to crowfunding backers last month. “We had made no effort for sales and marketing, but we sold 100 since then,” Enwall said.
Misty II is currently available for $2,899 (down from $3,200) or $134 per month. An optional Arduino backpack costs $149.