A little less than three years ago, Misty Robotics emerged from the skunkworks lab at Sphero, became a separate entity, and started pursuing its own unique vision of a robotic future. We outlined that future in one of our very first blog posts, The 10 Year Plan.
Now, we’re six months into our commercial journey. We successfully launched Misty II last October, and earlier this year we added new options to the Misty II lineup (Basic, Standard, and Enhanced). We’re not even a year into Phase I — the “Unleash the Inventors” phase — and we’re starting to hit our stride.
And so are Misty’s developers. In just six months, we’ve seen them use Misty to solve problems in eldercare, socially assistive therapy, education, children’s hospitals, and many other industries. Some of these solutions are ready for the market. Their developers are ready to meet people with problems that Misty can solve. We want to help. That’s why we created the Misty Solution Hub – to connect these developers with the customers they want to serve, and to accelerate the opportunity to put robots to work.
Misty’s value compounds
The essence of the Misty Robotics hypothesis is that there are tens of thousands of software developers just waiting to unleash their potential as robot solution builders. These developers, who for decades have been locked out of the robotics market because they’re not hyper-rare roboticists, are ready to release their creativity by creating, sharing, and building businesses around robot applications (a.k.a. “skills”). Misty II is the general-purpose robot they’ve been waiting for.
Misty II can run multiple skills and serve multiple purposes. You can code these skills yourself, or you can run any application that Misty’s amazing community of developers creates. Some of these apps are amateur, experimental, shared for the joy inherent in contributing to a thriving community. Many others are commercial. Their developers want to provide a return on investment to society, and be appropriately compensated for that value. All of these inventors – and the organizations they work for – play a leading role in our vision of a robot in every business, home, and school.
If you’re an eldercare facility and you bought Misty to monitor the environment for obstacles that could lead to deadly falls and to detect if someone has fallen, that’s a powerful value proposition by itself. And what if you could also download other robot skills that would let Misty play bingo with your residents, sing their favorite songs, or recite their favorite stories? What if, when she wasn’t being used in a group session or patrolling for falls, you could download a robot skill to have Misty greet visitors, sign them in at the front desk, and recognize some of them by name? What if you could download a skill for giving each resident a customized medication reminder, because Misty can recognize faces and be equipped with a fingerprint scanner to validate identities? What if your behavioral specialists could download a skill that helps them provide powerful therapies to Alzheimer’s patients?
Enter our commercial customers Salto, RoboSolucio, R4 Robotics, and Astea into the mix, with many others like them building eldercare-focused apps as we speak.
As the buyer at that eldercare facility, you’re (hopefully!) pretty thrilled that a very practical purchase has turned into a source of multiplying value. Your residents are starting to perk up because they’re a little less lonely. Your staff can focus a little bit more on the humanity of care, leaving some of the repetitive drudgery of care to the machines.
If you’re a school and you purchased Misty because you wanted your high school or college students to learn computer science on the next wave of computing platforms, that’s great. It’s a wonderful value proposition. And what if, when not being used by your computer science class, Misty could help provide therapy and individualized education to students with special needs? What if, when she’s not being used by therapists, she could greet people at the front door and share information about the school day ahead? And when not busy as a greeter, what if she could help teach English as a second language to non-native speakers? And at night she could turn into a security patrol guard? All this, because Misty’s customers have continued to invent new skills and made them available for others to use?
Enter Fine Art Miracles, Movia, and Unicast into the mix, and all our other customers working in the background on applications for education and socially assistive robotics.
As the purchaser at that school, you’re (hopefully!) pretty excited, because the original investment just became infinitely more valuable. And, with an ever-growing base of skills, that value just continues to multiply.
At the office…
If you work at an office and you purchased Misty to be a greeter, giving your employees and visitors a friendlier welcome than the one-way sign-in kiosks that greet so many, that’s an excellent value proposition. A great upgrade over the self-serve kiosk. Misty can automatically scan faces, print badges, and answer questions, all while being just a bit more engaging than an inert kiosk. And what if you could download a new skill that, coupled with a temperature sensor, could scan each employee’s temperature and write that data to a log when they sign in? And what if you could download the security app, so that when she wasn’t greeting employees and visitors by day, Misty could patrol the building and look for anomalies at night?
Enter Unicast, and examples of applications from the team at Misty Robotics (and, of course, all the others working in the background) to solve problems in large and small businesses alike. Hopefully, again, if you’re that purchaser, you’re pretty thrilled about this investment that just keeps on getting better.
Phase II of the Misty Robotics 10 Year Plan is, essentially, the “app store” phase, when early adopters can access and use hundreds (and then thousands) of apps that are available for download. Per the plan, that should arrive somewhere around Year 3 — so we’re not quite there yet.
Phase II has to begin somewhere. It has to start with the first half-dozen skills, then the next half-dozen, then the next dozen, then the next 25, then…
Today is that beginning. Today, we’re launching the Misty Solution Hub. The Misty Solution Hub is a place to connect with partners offering their own robot skills and development services for Misty II. It’s a resource for people and organizations who have an assignment for Misty in mind, but who lack the time or developer resources to build the solution themselves. No, it’s not an “app store”. You can’t transact here, or seamlessly download skills to your Misty II. But you can learn about the solutions our partners are offering (or will soon offer) to their own customers. Use the hub to find these partners, to learn how to buy, download, and deploy their solutions, or to get support on your own robot assignment.
And you can also explore the dozens of third-party amateur Misty II skills available on Github. Yes, like many of the first iPhone apps (cigarette lighter, anyone?), they’re not all that functional or useful — but our community of developers have been working hard to have fun and explore what Misty II can do. You can download those skills, too. Try them out, and if you’re a developer (and the license allows), modify the code to suit your needs. You might be inspired to share a creation of your own.
The next chapter
We’re very excited about the opening of this next chapter in our march towards our 10 Year Plan. We couldn’t be more grateful to the very first intrepid robot-pioneers, who have seen opportunities to build robot solutions, and who have applied their software know-how — breaking out of the absolute lock on the market that roboticists have had for the past many decades.
We’ll add to the Solution Hub as our customers complete and begin to market their work, and we’ll increase the number-count of available skills as the list of inventions grows. Want to bring your own skills or services to the Solution Hub? Let us know by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Our vision is only possible with you.
Before you know it, we’ll have hundreds of available commercial skills and announce that Phase II has truly begun.