How to watch Tesla AI Day 2022

Tesla AI Day is here — the company’s second-annual event designed to show off its progress in AI and robotics.

Viewers should expect demos and updates on the Optimus robot, the Dojo supercomputer as well as its “Autopilot” advanced driver assistance system, along with the $15,000 upgrade known as FSD, or “Full Self Driving.” (Tesla vehicles are not self-driving.)

CEO Elon Musk has billed Tesla AI Day as a recruitment event. And what better way to reach the 80-hour workweek ride-or-die for Tesla crowd than scheduling this for a Friday evening?

Tesla AI Day is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. PT September 30 (that’s today). If past is prologue then Tesla AI Day will not start promptly at 5 p.m. — Elon tends to run late. Like the company’s other events, Tesla AI Day 2022 should be livestreamed on the Tesla YouTube channel.

Last year, Tesla AI Day covered computer vision, the Dojo supercomputer and the Tesla chip. But it was the dancing human dressed in a white body suit with a shiny black mask as a face that got the most attention. That stunt introduced the world to Musk’s plan to build a humanoid robot called the Tesla Bot or Optimus.

The Tesla bot was described as a non-automotive robotic use case for the company’s work on neural networks and its Dojo advanced supercomputer.

Will this year’s event give us another human dressed in a robot costume, or an actual working humanoid robot?

How to watch Tesla AI Day 2022 by Kirsten Korosec originally published on TechCrunch

Show, don’t tell: Tips for robotics startups raising a Series B during a downturn

Raising a Series B for any startup is challenging right now, with many VCs pulling back on investments — funding for Series B rounds across all sectors fell 55% in August compared to a year earlier, for example.

But raising a Series B for a hardware startup can be even tougher. It has simply always been more difficult to get venture investors to fund a robotics project compared to a software-only venture, given robotics’ high capital requirements and the greater risk.

However, the climb uphill can get much easier if a robotics startup can showcase a solid business model, measurable metrics and a plan for the next 18 months. As an investor in AI and automation companies for over 20 years, I’ve backed dozens of robotics companies, and I continue to be bullish on the space.

You need to show that customers are deriving real value from your robots — saving time, money or both.

Here are several strategies founders can use to prepare their robotics companies for a successful Series B.

Show how your robot works

Robots are inherently visual (can anyone forget that video of Boston Dynamics robots dancing?) So when you pitch VCs on your automation company, it pays to demonstrate your robots in action.

If your robots are large installations in warehouses or on manufacturing lines, invite VCs to come to see them working. If they are small enough to transport, bring them with you to the pitch meeting. And always have high-quality video available to share on a computer or tablet during in-person pitches or online for virtual meetings. Seeing your product in action is critical to getting investors excited about it.

Show customer ROI

Show, don’t tell: Tips for robotics startups raising a Series B during a downturn by Ram Iyer originally published on TechCrunch

SoftBank Robotics Europe is now Aldebaran (again)

Its 2015 acquisition of Aldebaran didn’t go as smoothly as SoftBank hoped. At the time, the French robotics startup was best known for its Nao, which had become a fairly ubiquitous presence in research facilities across the globe. The small humanoid robot formed the foundation for the rebranded SoftBank Robotics’ best-known creation, Pepper. Nao mostly took a backseat as the company pushed to commercialize its new robot.

At best, Pepper was a brand ambassador, good for holding up signage at airports and restaurants. Last June, reports surfaced that SoftBank was halting production on Pepper, and in October, it got out that the company was hoping to sell off SoftBank Robotics Europe altogether. Earlier this year, German firm United Robotics Group agreed to acquire the division, and today it announced that it’s bringing back the space-inspired name.

The newly reconfigured Aldebaran is one of eight robotics brands under the URG umbrella. Its new parent has promised to “improve our offerings for existing products such as Pepper and Nao.” It adds that SoftBank maintains a vested interest in the company, noting:

SoftBank Robotics Group continues to support our robotic progress as a shareholder of United Robotics Group and will stay as our Master Distributor in Japan and Asia.

Aldebaran will maintain in headquarters in Paris.

SoftBank Robotics Europe is now Aldebaran (again) by Brian Heater originally published on TechCrunch

1MRobotics emerges from stealth with $25M for ‘nano-fulfillment’ centers

As evidenced by recent layoffs and scaled-back expansions, on-demand delivery is a challenging space. Brands, retailers and operators push to deliver with maximum efficiency, a strategy that’s led within the past several years to the rise of “dark stores.” A dark store, also known as a micro-fulfillment center, is a small, local store without the customers, where employees pack orders from shelves and racks for online delivery orders.

On-demand delivery startups like Getir and Gopuff operate hundreds of dark stores within the cities they service — one analysis projects that there will be 45,000 dark stores in operation by 2030. But while the storefronts decrease delivery times, sky-high rents and staffing requirements make them expensive to maintain — eating away at revenues.

Eyal Yair proposes an alternative in the form of robotic “nano-fulfillment” centers. He’s the co-founder and CEO of 1MRobotics, which takes an automation-first approach to deploying dark stores for rapid delivery. The company today launched out of stealth with $16.5 million in Series A funding led by Ibex Investors with participation from Emerge VC, Target Global and INT3, as well as collaborations with brands including Nespresso, AB InBev and REEF Technology.

The Series A brings 1MRobotics’ total raised to $25 million, inclusive of a previously undisclosed $8.5 million seed round.

“The pandemic has completely propelled ecommerce sales, purchase habits and consumer behavior to the next level — this new norm demands a new type of infrastructure to support rapid delivery operations at a global scale,” Yair told TechCrunch in an email interview. Prior to co-launching 1MRobotics with Roee Tuval, Yair spearheaded and sold two ventures — CartCrunch and Netonomy — focused on grocery e-commerce and cybersecurity, respectively.

“Manual dark stores simply don’t cut it anymore and [1MRobotics] serves as a clear catalyst to the adoption of fulfillment technology,” he continued with bombast. “1MRobotics does something magical: enabling a hyperlocal, fully-automated fulfillment network that’s a magnitude better in service level, significantly better for ESG and costs less than legacy regional next-day fulfillment solutions. This is the holy grail of product distribution.”

Yair claims that 1MRobotics’ platform — a small warehouse of robots that pack orders — can be installed nearly anywhere and doesn’t need to be maintenanced regularly, ideally abstracting away some of the logistics of deliveries. Leveraging AI, the system learns supply and demand patterns appearing in the order flow of the goods stored in the warehouse, Yair says, and “optimizes” the stock in response.

The model isn’t dissimilar to Fabric’s, which has raised more than $300 million at an over-$1 billion valuation for its micro-fulfillment robotics technology. Other rivals include Attabotics, Nimble Robotics and better-established players like AutoStore (which went public last October), U.K.-based grocery fulfillment tech firm Ocado Group and Noyes Technologies.

It’s a cutthroat industry. In July, Fabric laid off 40% of its workforce as it pivoted from a service provider to a platform. Implicit in the shift was a recognition that on-demand delivery is coming down from its pandemic highs; a recent survey out of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that more than 90% of people who used online delivery services during the pandemic would likely revert back to their original way of shopping.

Yair is adamant that 1MRobotics is differentiated and poised to grow, with “state-of-the-art” robotics technology that’s supposedly “significantly” more efficient than most. The jury’s out, but the company’s early traction suggests that there just might be something to those claims.

One point in 1MRobotics’ favor is that investors — and customers — are still relatively bullish about transportation and logistics tech companies. Logistics startups in particular attracted big VC money in 2021, raising over $27.5 billion. Meanwhile, big-name brands have doubled down on fulfillment automation, for example with Walmart announcing that it would bring robotics to 25 of its regional distribution centers.

“The next decade will be marked with consumers continuing to demand convenience, expecting retailers and brands to supply their favorite products faster and faster. However — nearly all existing last-mile facilities are manual today, with many operating quite inefficiently,” Gal Gitter, a partner at Ibex Investors, said via email. “This is where 1MRobotics comes in — providing ‘plug-and-play’ full automation for last mile fulfillment across nearly any category, while reducing cost and associated environmental impact. We believe the future of commerce is headed towards a network of fully automated and distributed nano-fulfillment sites – that is exactly what 1MRobotics enables.”

1MRobotics emerges from stealth with $25M for ‘nano-fulfillment’ centers by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

Stanford moonshot promises near-term profitability with no-code magical mushrooms, ft. Plaid of X

Hello and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. As you can tell by the headline of this episode, this is a bonus episode all about Y Combinator Demo Day (and the terms we heard most often during the two-day affair).

Natasha and Alex jumped on Twitter Spaces to talk through our favorites of the batch, geography changes, and diversity shake-up that included less women getting funded batch over batch. Below are some of the posts we pulled from:

Y Combinator week is busy, but we made it through! Talk Monday!

Equity drops every Monday at 7 a.m. PDT and Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.

Stanford moonshot promises near-term profitability with no-code magical mushrooms, ft. Plaid of X by Natasha Mascarenhas originally published on TechCrunch

Daily Crunch: Former employee says Patreon has laid off its entire security team

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here.

Fridaaaaaay. It was a short week, but it still dragged on a little.

We’ve got some exciting Twitter Live action coming up on September 13, so mark your calendars! At 8:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. EDT we are talking with Andrew Chan about why Gen Z VCs are trash, and at 12:00 p.m. PDT / 3:00 p.m. EDT, we’re talking with M13 partner Anna Barber about what today’s founders can learn from the dot-com bubble bursting.

Enjoy your weekend!  — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • More layoffs: Patreon, a company that enables content creators to offer monthly payment subscriptions to customers, confirmed that it let go of five people from its security team. Zack reports there are not a lot of details about the layoffs, but did have some information about how Patreon will manage its security going forward. 
  • Thank you, Mr. Roboto: Amazon announced it is acquiring Cloostermans, a mechatronics company based in Belgium. The e-commerce giant’s focus on robotics has Ingrid writing that Amazon “is taking an interesting turn in that strategy as it expands its industrial warehouse capabilities.”
  • We like a startup with a fun name: Cryptocurrency is a hot market in Africa, and Tage writes about one blockchain payments startup, called Bitmama, that raised $2 million in pre-seed funding to show what it can do in new markets.

Startups and VC

For our episode of Chain Reaction this week, our trusty crypto desk discussed the latest drama surrounding crypto mega-exchange Binance, which is shaking up the stablecoin ecosystem as it looks to muscle its way to supremacy. It’s a fantastic episode and well worth a listen.

Over the past decade, startups migrated north from Silicon Valley to make San Francisco the country’s hottest tech hub. The streets of the city were bustling with throngs of workers, writes Mary Ann. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and things slid to a halt. Now, more than two years and several vaccines later, San Francisco’s office scene has still not rebounded and the city’s streets remain eerily quiet.

Let’s do a few more, shall we:

Use DORA metrics to support the next generation of remote-work models

Liwa, UAE - Laptop glows outside a tent pitched on the dunes of the Empty Quarter desert

Image Credits: Edwin Remsberg (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Nontechnical CEOs often rely on someone else’s assessment to find out how good their developers are. Without data, that’s a pretty subjective process.

Startups that don’t use DORA (DevOps research and assessment) metrics have a harder time measuring a software delivery team’s performance. For example, a group that has a high failure rate may cover their deficiencies (for a time) by deploying quickly.

Remote work is the new normal, especially for engineers, says Alex Circei, CEO and co-founder of development analytics tool Waydev. By using DORA metrics, CTOs, CEOs and HR managers can “get back on the same page to support their tech teams and business outcomes.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

India is taking more control over which lending apps are permitted in app stores. Manish and Jagmeet keep us updated on the country’s efforts to bring more disclosures and transparency to the world of digital lending, which they write is full of “sketchy and unethical lenders.”

Daily Crunch: Former employee says Patreon has laid off its entire security team by Christine Hall originally published on TechCrunch

Amazon is buying Cloostermans, a mechatronics specialist in Belgium, to ramp up its robotics operations

Amazon has made a string of startup acquisitions over the years to build out its robotics business; now, the e-commerce leviathan is taking an interesting turn in that strategy as it expands its industrial warehouse capabilities. Amazon is acquiring Cloostermans, a company out of Belgium that is a specialist in mechatronics. It’s been building technology to move and stack heavy palettes and totes, and robotics used to package products together for customer orders. Amazon has been using those products as a customer of Cloostermans’ since 2019 for e-commerce operations; it’s making the acquisition to ramp up its R&D and deployment in that area.

“We’re thrilled to be joining the Amazon family and extending the impact we can have at a global scale,” said Frederik Berckmoes-Joos, CEO of Cloostermans, in a statement in a blog post published by Amazon. “Amazon has raised the bar for how supply chain technologies can benefit employees and customers, and we’re looking forward to be part of the next chapter of this innovation.”

The bigger picture for Amazon is that it will likely be doing a lot more in warehouse robotics in the years ahead to meet the demands of its ever-expanding e-commere operation.

An internal report at the company leaked earlier this year to Vox projected that Amazon is facing a major shortage of workers in its warehouses — not necessarily because of the labor disputes its been facing in various markets, but because it’s running out of people to hire. The report suggested that alongside higher wages, further automation could be one way to offset that crisis. Deals like this one to acquire Cloostermans and ramp up its usage of robotics in those warehouses would fit into that strategy.

Notably, Cloostermans is no startup, nor is it a typical M&A target for a tech leviathan: it was founded in 1884 and has been privately held for the last six generations.

Amazon is not disclosing the financial terms of the deal, but it will see some 200 machinists, engineers and others from Cloostermans join Amazon.

Amazon has been expanding its robotics work in Europe in recent years, including opening a robotics innovation lab in Italy and operating R&D facilities in Germany; and as you can see from its job board, it’s hiring aggressively in robotics in both of those places and elsewhere. Now you can add operations in Belgium to that list: Amazon will continue to operate out of Cloostermans’ facilities in a town called Hamme after the deal completes (no details on the timing for that close).

It doesn’t look like Cloostermans had any outside investment. You could say it was “bootstrapped” although I’m not even sure you can apply that term to a family-owned company as old as this one. From what I understand Amazon has been one of Cloistermans’ biggest customers; its other clients will continue to be served until the end of their existing contracts — meaning, those may not get renewed as Amazon ramps up its engagement with the business.

Amazon’s robotics ecosystems — which include both what it’s doing for its industrial warehouse operations, as well as products that are more directly connected to consumers and customer experience — has been built up over the years through a mix of acquisitions, internal development and partnerships with third parties.

The consumer branch has included the acquisition of iRobot earlier this year for $1.7 billion, and Dispatch was picked up in 2019 to build its autonomous delivery robot Scout. Meanwhile, some of the key acquisitions to build out its industrial business have included the $775 million acquisition of Kiva in 2012 and Canvas Technology in 2019 for just over $100 million.

The Kiva deal in particular has resulted in some 520,000 robotic drive units distributed across warehouses worldwide, Amazon said in its blog post. Kiva’s tech, now folded into Amazon Robotics, has also been central to the development of Proteus, an autonomous mobile warehouse robot that it unveiled earlier this year. Amazon said it has also hired some 1 million people for its warehouses.

All that has been complemented by internal development an extensive network of third-party partnerships. Cloostermans was part of the latter category, building machines to automate packing orders and moving boxes of products from one place to another for that purpose. Amazon wanted to take it in house because it’s planning to expand its capacity to design and build those kinds of machines and how it uses them in its warehouses. (I’ve asked but have not had any insight into whether that will be for non-perishable items, or for electronics, or for delicate products like food for its ever-growing grocery business. Feasibly, the idea could be to develop for all of those, and even for scenarios where items might be packed up for customers in retail locations.)

converted PNM file

“Amazon’s investments in robotics and technology are supporting how we build a better and safer workplace for our employees and deliver for our customers,” said Ian Simpson, vice president of Global Robotics at Amazon, in a statement. “As we continue to broaden and accelerate the robotics and technology we design, engineer and deploy across our operations, we look forward to welcoming Cloostermans to Amazon and are excited to see what we can build together.”

Amazon is buying Cloostermans, a mechatronics specialist in Belgium, to ramp up its robotics operations by Ingrid Lunden originally published on TechCrunch

Supply chain firm NFI inks $10M deal to deploy Boston Dynamics’ Stretch robots

I admit to having my doubts when Boston Dynamics announced it was getting into the already-crowded warehouse/logistics field. One could certainly make the case that Stretch is a bit over-engineered and ultimately a bit of overkill for most situations. Keep in mind, the company’s Spot robot runs around $75,000, while no official pricing has been revealed for Handle’s robotic descendant.

That said, a second big firm has put down a sizable order for the ‘bots. It’s a strong vote of confidence for what is still a new system. New Jersey-based supply chain firm, NFI, has agreed to order $10 million worth of Stretches for its U.S. warehouses. The news follows an even larger $15 million deal between DHL and Boston Dynamics announced way back in January.

We talk plenty about warehouse staffing shortages on these pages, in reference to the incredible growth for logistics robots – and continued supply chain shortages are still hot button topic. The NFI/BD deal sits right in the middle, coupled with a push to bring more supply chain operations to North America.

Image Credits: Boston Dynamics

Automation and robotics are inevitably going to be a large part of that conversation, going forward. With the backing of its parent company, Hyundai, Boston Dynamics looks well positioned to tackle some loading and unloading needs for these factories. Certainly a pair of high dollar deals out of the gate don’t hurt.

“We designed Stretch to automate box moving, an operationally and physically challenging task across warehouses,” Boston Dynamics CEO Robert Playter said in a release tied to the news. “Demand for goods continues to rise, and robots like Stretch can help NFI alleviate some of the challenges associated with that surging demand. Stretch makes truck unloading a safer and more efficient task, and NFI can pass that efficiency along to its customers.”

Stretch is set to make its NFI debut at a Savannah, Georgia facility at some point in 2023, with the remainder of the roll out happening over subsequent years. Clothing retailers Gap and H&M have also signed up to deploy the robot.

The good, the bad and the Actuator

One of the trickiest parts of this gig is setting realistic expectations. The job of writing about robots for a living is a bit of a balancing act between excited optimism and pragmatic realism. How do you temper the excitement of some of the world’s most fascinating technologies with reality’s inevitable encroachment?

Covering robots in various capacities for over a decade now has taught me the importance of keeping one’s powder dry. You want exciting headlines that will draw readers in and give the work the coverage it deservers without overpromising. People will accept your hyperbole for only so long.

For me, the lesson was learned on a visit to a university research lab 5 to 10 years back. Robotics professors largely develop realistic timelines when it comes to the real-world deployment of early-stage technologies. I was regularly told that such applications were for 5 to 10 years out. Having waited through it, it’s exciting to see so many of them enter real-world usage. Matured technologies and a global pandemic dovetailed perfectly to deliver on so much of robotics’ promises.

Image Credits: Bear Robotics

However, pragmatism means reporting the bad along with the good. In recent weeks, that’s meant a number of firms reacting to broader market trends, through layoffs or closures. It also means checking in on earlier reports of progress. Take this week’s Chili’s financial reports via Restaurant Business that found the fast-casual restaurant chain hitting the big, red pause button on its deployment of Bear Robotics serving robot, Rita.

“The robotics project we’re pausing right now,” said Kevin Hochman, who stepped into the CEO role at Chili’s parent, Brinker, in May. “We’re going to stop some of those projects that we just didn’t have a line of sight to a return on the business. But we’re going to double down and accelerate the ones that we think will have a more meaningful impact on restaurant margins and a quicker impact on our business.”

ROI is a tricky thing to calculate with these sorts of pilots, of course. And I think the bigger question with this specific sort of technology is how much it can directly address staff shortages plaguing restaurants — and virtually every other service sector at this point. It’s a setback for sure, particularly after Chili’s agreed to bring the ’bots to around 60 locations, just before the start of Hochman’s tenure.

We’ve reached out to Bear Robotics for comment.

3d rendering, the robot process automation to automate repetitive tasks that were previously handled by humans a combination of automation, computer vision, and machine learning to automate repetitive (3d rendering, the robot process automation to aut

Image Credits: Ekkasit919 / Getty Images

If you’ve followed my work in the space, you know that automation’s impact on labor has been an important topic. For that reason, I wanted to draw attention to this report from the University of Central Florida, which puts the conversation in an interesting context that’s too often ignored. The study looked at public reaction to automation in European countries that have different levels of wealth inequality.

“Countries that have more people in unequal standing, on average, tend to see these technologies more as a threat,” UCF professor and the study’s co-author, Mindy Shoss, says. “The U.S. always ranks pretty high on inequality and societal inequality. Given that, I would suspect that there probably are, on average, similar negative views of AI and robot technology in the U.S.”

It’s the sort of thing that seems obvious on the face of it, but probably isn’t being discussed enough. People are smart, and they implicitly understand that a push toward greater automation in society risks disproportionately impacting blue-collar workers. Let’s face it, these are the first jobs to be automated, and doing so will likely contribute to an already expanding wealth gap.

These are precisely the sorts of conversations we need to be having any time we discuss wide-scale automation. The roboticist long tail view tends to be very rosy about this stuff, but the people directly impacted by such innovations deserve a place in the conversation as well.

Shoss adds, “There’s a lot of potential of these technologies to help make work better by doing dangerous tasks or giving people more flexibility, but there’s also some risk involved in these technologies. And the implication from our research is that if you’re going to try to develop robots or AI technology in a highly unequal society, there might be more barriers to getting people to adopt that kind of technology.”

Shane Farritor, Virtual Incision surgical robot photographed in the group’s Nebraska Innovation Center office and lab. April 11, 2019. Image Credits: Craig Chandler / University Communication.

All right, on to the fun stuff. I missed this earlier in the month, but it still warrants a spot in Actuator. NASA has awarded the University of Nebraska–Lincoln $100,000 to bring a surgical robot into orbit as part of a 2024 ISS mission.

The ability to perform remote surgery has some very clear advantages for space exploration. The robot’s inventor, Shane Farritor, notes, “The astronaut flips a switch, the process starts and the robot does its work by itself. Two hours later, the astronaut switches it off and it’s done.”

As we’ve seen from companies like Sphero and littleBits, Disney Accelerator’s backing can be something of a mixed bag. Though, having such valuable IP at your disposal definitely feels like a plus. This week, Miko announced that its little kids robot, Miko 3, is getting access to animated storybooks featuring characters from films like “Moana,” “Frozen,” and “The Lion King.”

“Bringing the imaginative worlds of Disney and Pixar to our platform represents a big step in kids robotics,” Miko cofounder and CEO, Sneh Vaswani, told TechCrunch. “Miko is thrilled to be the first robotics platform to have such an innovative collaboration with Disney, and we look forward to raising the benchmark for kids engagement together.”

Image Credits: Stanford University

And lastly, some research from Stanford and Seoul National University, by way of IEEE. The schools are highlighting work around artificial nerves capable of helping paralyzed mice run.

“Our work is the first example of delivering biological neural signals through biomimetic electronic nerves to biological organs,” the paper’s senior coauthor Tae-Woo Lee notes. “Through this, it seems possible to present new solutions and strategies for nerve damage in humans such as spinal-cord injury, peripheral nerve damage, and neurological damage such as Lou Gehrig’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease.”

The hope, of course, is to one day develop similar results in human patients.

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Subscribe to Actuator, for all the good and bad robotics news.

Disney accelerator alum Miko celebrates 140-country launch

It looks like Miko’s participation in the Disney Accelerator is paying off in a big way, as the company is bringing Disney and Pixar characters to its Miko 3 robot for kids. The company launched its Disney collaboration today, available to customers in more than 140 countries.

The funky little robot can play animated story books with stories featuring stars from “Moana,” “Frozen,” “The Lion King,” “Toy Story,” “Big Hero 6,” “Coco” and a bunch of other well-loved stories.

“Bringing the imaginative worlds of Disney and Pixar to our platform represents a big step in kids robotics” Sneh Vaswani, Miko co-founder and CEO said in an email to TechCrunch. “Miko is thrilled to be the first robotics platform to have such an innovative collaboration with Disney, and we look forward to raising the benchmark for kids engagement together.”

The company has more than 170 employees globally and offices in the innovation hubs of Silicon Valley and Mumbai. It was founded in 2015, and was the only participant in Disney Accelerator based in Asia. Disney’s accelerator “connects technology companies with the expertise and resources of The Walt Disney Company,” unlocking significant brand and marketing synergies. The company says it is the first to host an official Disney app on a kids’ robot platform.

Below is a little demo video the company produced, before it added all the Disney content to the platform. Ugh, it’s so adorable — if you need me, I’ll be over in the corner of the coffee shop squee-ing to myself.