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May 3, 2018

Have you always dreamed of having a personal robot? Misty II ready for pre-order

by John_A

It’s been nearly a year since Sphero, the company known best for making lovable Star Wars droids into connected toys, announced that it would be spinning off a new startup, Misty Robotics, that’s dedicated to bringing robot assistants to smart homes. And now, we’re getting our first chance to bring one of these bots into our homes.

Misty recently showed off the Misty II, a slightly more advanced version of the original Misty robot the company debuted at CES in January 2018. Crowdfunding pre-orders are officially open for what’s being called the “personal robot you’ve been waiting for,” and prices begin at $1,499.

As per Misty’s new landing page for the bot, the Misty II is “professional grade, hardware-extensible, and purpose built as a development platform.” Meant for developers of both the amateur and professional variety, the Misty II promises to be “easy to make powerful,” but is DIY enough to keep robotics fans interested.

At six pounds and just over a foot tall (14 inches, to be exact), the Misty II is a relatively small robot, and meant for either the home or the office. It comes complete with a number of features that can help it safely navigate these scenarios, including a 3D Occipital sensor for mapping, a 4K Sony camera for facial and object recognition, and eight sensors to help avoid obstacles.

But what Misty II actually does for its owners is completely up to them. Depending on how the robot is programmed, it could serve as a security guard, tasked with investigating strange noises or opening the door; or as an extra pair of hands for mom and dad, checking in on children to ensure they’ve completed their chores. But ultimately, Misty wants its customers to dream up applications for the Misty II that the company itself can’t even conceive of. After all, the company’s goal is to put a robot in every home, which means that its robots will have to be able to execute a wide range of tasks.

To program Misty II, users can leverage a block-based programming interface Misty developed itself, as well as JavaScript APIs to create new skills or integrations with third-party services like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Misty II is also able to run on TensorFlow, Caffe, and Windows ML and has two Qualcomm SnapDragon processors running Windows IoT Core and Android 7 operating systems.

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