IFA 2019: Ecovacs rev up new flagship Ozmo 950 robo-vac

Ecovacs have kicked off this year’s IFA with a new flagship robot vacuum cleaner that has already been awarded the IFA Product Technical Innovation …
Credit: Ecovacs

Ecovacs have kicked off this year’s IFA with a new flagship robot vacuum cleaner that has already been awarded the IFA Product Technical Innovation Award for its Mapping Technology.

Promising to deliver a “Nothing Missed” cleaning experience, the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 950 boasts new multi-floor mapping technology and an impressive three hours of battery life. An key advancement on previous Deebots, the Ozmo 950 is able to scan and store multiple maps of a home’s different levels and then customise the cleaning process once it identifies its current location.

The Deebot Ozmo 950 also features an upgraded “Floating Brush” that allows it to effectively sweep cracks up to 4mm deep and a new Max+ Mode that boosts suction power – allowing to deal with stubborn dirt and deliver better results than earlier models would have.

“Ecovacs Robotics designed the Deebot Ozmo 950 to meet growing consumer demand for a smarter, more affordable vacuum robot with premium features that include vacuuming, mopping and smart-home capabilities and we are excited to be launching this shortly in Australia,” said Karen Powell, Country Manager for ECOVACS ROBOTICS Australia and New Zealand.

“By combining intelligent mapping, navigation technology, energy-efficiency, automated mopping capabilities and new designs for the robots to enhance mobility, our robots ensure that the always missed spots can be well taken care. Ecovacs robots are already the first choice of over 15 million families around the world, are we’re delighted that an ever-growing number of Australian households are among them.”

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Deebot Ozmo 610 robot vacuum returning to Aldi for just $299

The Ecovacs Robotics Deebot Ozmo 610 which sold out in minutes earlier this year will be returning to the ALDI Special Buys next week at the …

The Ecovacs Robotics Deebot Ozmo 610 which sold out in minutes earlier this year will be returning to the ALDI Special Buys next week at the irresistible price of just $299.

Ecovacs Robotics is the highest-selling robot brand in the world and its Deebot Ozmo 610 can both vacuum your carpets and also mop your floors.

And it has been significantly discounted to be included in the ALDI Special Buys from September 4.

The Deebot Ozmo 610 can schedule and monitor cleaning through the companion app and create an efficient cleaning path around your home.

The unit has sensors to navigate obstacles and your furniture and keep them all safe from scuffs and marks.

The Deebot Ozmo 610 also comes with a charging base station and the robot is smart enough to return to the dock every time it needs a recharge.

And by using the app you easily start a clean or monitor the current clean from anywhere.

Deebot Ozmo 610 uses an interchangeable tangle-free intake system which is designed to pick up hairs without causing a blockage.

The main brush can thoroughly clean your carpets and also includes Max Mode to double down on the suction in problem areas.

The onboard mopping technology and bigger water tank can also make your hard floors spotless as well.

The electronically controlled water pump and sensors can switch to mopping mode when the mopping kit is installed when and it detects a hard floor surface.

The Deebot Ozmo 610 will be available from ALDI from September 4 for a limited time only for $299.

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littleBits Acquired by Sphero

Investors in the company include Khosla Ventures, True Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Foundry Group, VTF Capital, MIT Media Lab, Morgan Stanley, …

littleBits Electronics, the open-source library and maker of electronic modules and kits to foster STEM learning, has been acquired by Boulder-based Sphero. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “When I studied engineering, it was top-down, test-based,” said Ayah Bdeir, founder of littleBits. “I hated it and wanted to quit every semester. Then I got exposed to the pedagogy of learning through play and my life changed; no one could peel me away from learning, inventing, creating. Together, littleBits and Sphero are now bringing this experience to kids everywhere.”

Then I got exposed to the pedagogy of learning through play and my life changed; no one could peel me away from learning, inventing, creating. Together, littleBits and Sphero are now bringing this experience to kids everywhere – Ayah Bdeir

Founded by Bdeir in 2011, littleBits had raised a total of $62.3M in reported funding plus an unreported round of $14.3M earlier this year that AlleyWatch exclusively covered. Investors in the company include Khosla Ventures, True Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Foundry Group, VTF Capital, MIT Media Lab, Morgan Stanley, Oreilly AlphaTech Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, DFJ Growth, MVI (MENA Venture Investments), Joanne Wilson, Wamda Capital, Grishin Robotics, Joi Ito, Nicholas Negroponte, Josh Spear, Fadi Ghandour, Neoteny Labs, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, Jason Port, and Mohamed Nanabhay.

Combined, the two companies have over 140 patents and have sold over $500M in kits and robots. “Sphero and littleBits are on a mission to make hands-on learning fun and memorable,” said Paul Berberian, Sphero’s CEO. “Together, we’re able to make an even greater impact by delivering the best possible solution — whether it is programming a robot to solve a maze or building an electronic music synthesizer. There are infinite learning possibilities — and they’re all fun.”

Together, we’re able to make an even greater impact by delivering the best possible solution — whether it is programming a robot to solve a maze or building an electronic music synthesizer. There are infinite learning possibilities — and they’re all fun – Paul Berberian

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Stuffed sharks and toy soldiers: the strangest things British eccentrics have tried to insure

Wine, whisky and stamp collections, fine artwork, Beatles memorabilia and antique golf clubs are other curios successfully insured by Direct Line.

Full-sized replicas of Chinese Terracotta Army soldiers, stuffed sharks and a toy soldier collection worth more than £10,000 are some of the trickiest treasures insurers have been asked to cover.

Other odd items that their owners want covered include dead tigers, artwork from anonymous artist Banksy and a collection of teddy bears from the German designer Richard Steiff, who invented the cuddly toys.

Wine, whisky and stamp collections, fine artwork, Beatles memorabilia and antique golf clubs are other curios successfully insured by Direct Line.

The firm estimates that we own almost £222bn of collectibles worth more than £500 each. Two-thirds of the population own such items, around a quarter…

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Designer Toy Company Superplastic Secures $10 Million

Founders Fund’s Cyan Banister, Global Village, Betaworks, Index Ventures, Canaan, Scooter Braun, Kevin Weil, Scott Belsky, Shrug Capital, and …
  • Cult designer toy brand Superplastic recently announced it raised $10 million in funding and launched an innovative animated entertainment division

Superplastic — a cult designer toy brand — recently announced it raised $10 million in funding and launched an innovative animated entertainment division focused on bringing its popular characters to life. And the company’s first two synthetic celebrities (Janky and Guggimon) also dropped on Instagram recently.

The $10 million funding round was led by Craft Ventures — which is a venture capital firm founded by David O. Sacks (Yammer founder and former CEO) and Bill Lee (a serial entrepreneur who was the co-founder of two companies that sold for more than a combined $1 billion). Founders Fund’s Cyan Banister, Global Village, Betaworks, Index Ventures, Canaan, Scooter Braun, Kevin Weil, Scott Belsky, Shrug Capital, and many others had also joined the round.

Superplastic already has an obsessed fanbase and the designer toys based on Janky and Guggimon routinely sell out in minutes on the Superplastic online store.

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“The old studio model for animated entertainment is dead,” said Superplastic CEO Paul Budnitz — who is also known for creating the cult toy brand Kidrobot and the social network Ello. “Big studios kill innovation, and nothing gets made. We decided to skip the studios and go directly to our fans, by giving our characters lives on social media.”

Budnitz worked with art director Huck Gee on Janky and Guggimon for over a year using celebrities like Kanye West and David Bowie as models.

“Guggimon is an artist that’s obsessed with fashion, handbags, and horror movies,” added Gee. “Janky’s just a screw up that wants to be famous.”

Both of the animated characters interact with fans, human celebrities, and each other on social media. By giving Janky and Guggimon lives on social media, it also opened up new avenues for revenue far beyond traditional character licensing. And they earn fees like real life influencers and Superplastic is in talks with global fashion brands about partnerships. Plus the company is collaborating with well-known artists a Janky art show in NYC in late 2019. And Guggimon is the first synthetic artist invited to participate in the Montreal Mural Festival in 2020.

Since appropriating social media as an entertainment platform required completely rethinking the traditionally slow animation process, the team hired top animators from Hollywood, then retooled the technology, and created innovative workflows that allow characters to respond quickly to fans and whatever’s trending online.

“Superplastic is disrupting the way we think about celebrity and media,” explained Lee. “It’s a totally unique integrated vision, from toys to entertainment to what’s happening right now on Instagram.”

Banister agreed with Lee:

“Superplastic is the next Marvel, reinvented for the new millennium.”

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