I got an Apple ][ computer forty years ago. It cost $3,000 and changed the trajectory of my life.
Today, you can pre-order a Misty II for $1,599, which is 50% off MSRP. From my perspective, Misty is today’s home robot analogy to the personal computer from 40 years ago.
A video description is much better than a few paragraphs, so sit back and enjoy.
Misty spun off from Sphero a little under a year ago and started shipping Misty 1 four months ago. The company is making progress at a relentless pace and have been shipping a small number of Misty I’s to very early developers in controlled environments.
Misty II is a significant advance over Misty I as it designed for high-volume manufacturing, has more hardware extensibility (backpacks, arms, earpiece, trailer hitch), is self-charging, has more battery capacity, a three-degree neck joint, and lots more sensors (bump, capacitive touch, time of flight) It will also have software that is six months more advanced, and will be exactly the same software that runs on Misty I.
Misty II will be shipping in December 2018. We are doing a crowdfunding campaign because we are concentrating on launching a journey with a community of software developers, makers, and robot dreamers. We want you as part of our journey, and we think crowdfunding is the right approach to building the community from the very beginning.
In the same way that the Apple ][ helped create the personal computer software industry, I think Misty II can help create the personal robotics software industry. While the hardware is important, the magic – for me – of the Apple ][ was that I could tinker endlessly with the software. It was completely open, allowing me to do many different things while learning. I remember writing short programs in Basic, playing around with machine code in the Apple ][ monitor, poking and peeking a lot, eventually learning 6502 Assembly, and then writing more serious applications in UCSD Pascal. And, when I got a Microsoft Z-80 SoftCard, I learned z80 assembly language, CP/M, and got a headstart on MS-DOS.
Thanks for the all notes of concern about my bike accident on Thursday. I’m doing a lot better – still a little fuzzy and tired feeling – but on the mend. I’ve gotten confirmation that it wasn’t a hit and run – I clearly lost control of the bike during a turn, crashed into a curb, went over, and landed on my head. Lights out for a while.
I’m done biking. I’ve never really been a cyclist – I’ve always been a runner. Given that I’ve now had two single bike accidents that were 100% my fault, I’m clearly not cut out for being on a two-wheeled vehicle. So – back to running.
Over the weekend I took it easy and just let my mind drift around. A lot of friends came over to visit us which was nice. We hung out in our backyard by the pool, enjoyed the sunshine, and I let my mind drift around.
I had some weird dreams – some were clearly PTSD – but some were stuff I’ve read recently. I listened to Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion on Audible over the past two months on my bike rides and runs and lots of weird associations with it came up in my dreams, which, if you’ve read the books, is delightfully recursive.
All of this kept leading me back to robots and drones. We are investors in a number of companies in this arena, including Sphero, 3D Robotics, and Modular Robotics, and I think we are just at the beginning of a decade long revolution that has been a long time coming.
My friends at Techstars agree and last week launched – with Qualcomm – the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars. I mentioned it on my blog last week when writing about Mentors 8/18: Adopt At Least One Company Every Single Year. Experience Counts and I realized I missed a key nuance in the post, which was about engagement with new things.
It’s nice to talk about robots and drones. But if you don’t engage with them right now, you aren’t going to understand them, and the amazingly rapid trajectory they are going to be heading on. Reading science fiction can give you a sense of where they are going, but getting a drone right now from 3D Robotics, buying the new Ollie robot from Sphero, or grabbing the ModRobotics MOSS robot will change your understanding of these things. Oh – and these things are amazing fun.
Techstars and Qualcomm aren’t fooling around in this arena. Qualcomm gets this market – they’ve already been focused on it with their Snapdragon processor and work with Brain Corporation – and their participation in the program will be invaluable. The Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is another big leap forward for Qualcomm as they establish themselves as a leader in this market.
And – if you are an entrepreneur and want to go deep here along with hanging out in San Diego, check out the robotics revolution.