Archive for December, 2009

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Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy On Site Teacher Training

December 29, 2009

Teacher training for robotics educators who use LEGO MIndstorms, TETRIX, or VEX robots in their middle school and high school classrooms. All training is conducted at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in Pittsburgh, PA. The NREC is part of the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, a world-renowned robotics organization, where you’ll be surrounded by real-world robot research and commercialization. You also can take advantage of Pittsburgh’s attractions, from world-class museums and entertainment, to shopping, excursions, sports, and more.

Duration : 0:4:5

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Robotic toys are not for kids only. Teachers should learn how to play it, before teach it.

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Robotics at USC Upstate: An In-class Demonstration to 3-4 year olds

December 24, 2009

In this video, Dr. Sebastian van Delden has brought one of the Staubli robotic arms from the USC Upstate robotics lab to the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Child Development Center for a demonstration. The 4 axis Staubli machine and controller are small enough to easily be transported in a truck or SUV for on-site demonstrations. The video shows that very young kids (3-4 years old in this video) can be taught basic robotics concepts in a fun, interactive environment using industrial robotics equipment. If you are a teacher in the Spartanburg area and would like an in-class demonstration (absolutely free), contact: Dr. Sebastian van Delden, svandelden@uscupstate.edu, (864) 503-5292.

Duration : 0:8:58

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Robotic Toy for young children.

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Mindstorms robot PK2

December 18, 2009

Another interesting creation of mindstorms Watch it.

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Will Your Child Get a Zhu Zhu Pet This Christmas? – Everything PR

December 5, 2009
2009 December, 4th
Laura Spencer
Laura Spencer

Not A Zhu Zhu PetZhu Zhu Pets are one of the “hot” toys for this Christmas season. If you have a child under 12 around, you’ve probably already heard of this new, fuzzy way to empty your wallet (or you will be hearing about it soon).

(For those of you who don’t happen to have a child handy to ask, Zhu Zhu Pets are cute robotic hamsters that apparently do nearly everything that a real hamster can do — except make the mess. There are also a number of accessories that parents can buy to go with this toy.)

What’s interesting about the rise in popularity of Zhu Zhu Pets is the way that this product was promoted. According to a post over at SocialMedia Today Cepia L.L.C., the company behind the toy, relied heavily on bloggers and YouTube to build up interest in their product.

It has proven to be a brilliant strategy.

My own research shows that there is already a Zhu Zhu Pet finder quiz on Facebook based on the cuddly toy as well as a Facebook game. There are also quite a few tweets about Zhu Zhu Pets.

In fact, lately the blogging world has been just filled with references to these furry little moneymakers. Consider these recent posts about the robotic hamsters:

Even the popular Huffington Post found the furry new trend to be blogworthy. Check out this post by Mae Anderson,   Robotic Hamsters: Holidays’ Unlikely New Craze.

I haven’t personally examined a Zhu Zhu Pet closely, so I can’t really say whether I think that these toys are worth all of the hype. Other than the photos published on blogs and in newspapers and magazines, I haven’t even seen one. (However, I CAN tell you that the photo accompanying this story is of a real hamster, and not a toy.)

Fortunately, my own kids are a little too old to demand this toy for themselves (or at least, I hope they are). So, a Zhu Zhu Pet won’t be coming to our house this Christmas season.

The PR lesson, however, is that social media is a key element when introducing a new product into the marketplace. Most companies would love to have the kind of coverage that Zhu Zhu Pets is getting, but they won’t realize that goal unless they acknowledge the importance of social media in the marketplace.

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About the author: Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 19 years of professional business writing experience. Laura blogs at Freelance Folder and WritingThoughts.

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Zhu zhu pet got publicity a lot. He is a real cute robot ready for Christmas.

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Character Group predicts Christmas toy shortage – guardian.co.uk

December 2, 2009

A host of children will be disappointed on Christmas morning, according to toy specialist Character Group.

The company is predicting shortages of a number of key products, in particular its Go Go Pets – robotic hamsters which presumably live longer than the real thing – and Peppa Pig products. It also hopes for good things from its HM Armed Forces toys and next year, a new range of Doctor Who action figures to coincide with the new series and indeed, new doctor.

Meanwhile, though, its full year results have shown the scars of the collapse of Woolworths a year ago. Stock intended for the retailer for Christmas 2008 and spring this year ended up swamping the market, as the company decided it needed to keep its cash flow in good shape.

So the company recorded a pretax loss of £2.17m – including a £1m bad debt from Woolies – compared to a £5.14m profit the previous year. But the company is optimistic it is over the worst and – without being a hostage to fortune – is hopeful of good Christmas trading.

Its shares have dipped 2p to 65.5p on the news, but house broker Charles Stanley has begun coverage of the company today with a buy recommendation. Analyst Richard Hickinbotham said:

Character enters 2010 in a markedly improved position than a year ago when the demise of Woolworths had a major adverse impact. The ensuing focus and concentration on branded product has enabled the business to achieve second half profitability and also to grow its market share significantly [from 3% to around 5%].

Despite a still difficult retail environment, management has proposed a 1p final dividend which reflects a growing confidence in the outlook into 2010. New ranges for Doctor Who, a major line in earlier years, and Fireman Sam will join the line up for next year with Go Go Pets also expected to deliver exceptional growth alongside the rest of Character’s branded offering that includes Peppa Pig, HM Armed Forces, Postman Pat and Scooby Doo.

Character clearly looks to have passed its nadir and a PE of 5.8 times 2012 earnings per share fails to reflect the improved outlook and cash generative nature of the business. Net cash at the year end increased to £0.9m despite the company repurchasing £2.1m of shares for cancellation from 3i at 30.15p.

We initiate with a buy recommendation and price target of 90p. The next news from the company is at the AGM in January when we would expect a positive update.

Go go pets hamsters are cute. No wonder why parents bought this for their kids.