SOURCE: GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.

January 06, 2011 06:00 ET

GeckoSystems and EU Firm Sign MOU Enabling First EU Elder Care Robot Trials

CONYERS, GA--(Marketwire - January 6, 2011) -  GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. (PINKSHEETS: GOSY) -- announced today that they have successfully negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FLAGMAN GRUPP LTD., in Tallinn, Estonia, enabling the first EU elder care robot trials. GeckoSystems is a dynamic leader in the emerging mobile robotics industry revolutionizing their development and usage with "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security and Service(tm)."

"We are pleased to announce the signing of this foundation agreement. Europeans, especially those in Eastern Europe, have their own eldercare crisis because of the size of their post WWII "baby boomer" population. They would be licensing GeckoSystems' suite of mobile robot solutions for CareBot(tm) manufacture and sale into Estonia initially.

"No doubt their interest is due in part to the reality of our ongoing world's first in home elder care robot trials. Now that we have this seminal agreement in place, we can progress forward exploring our many areas of common interest with FLAGMAN GRUPP," commented Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems.

In this fundamental agreement, the CEO's of both companies agree that "having carefully assessed their mutual interests, have determined that they would benefit from exploring the possibilities on a non exclusive basis of entering into joint collaborations for R&D, market research, technology licensing, distribution and manufacturing in Estonia, etc." Further, this would include, but not be limited to, the localization (adaptation) of GeckoSystems' CareBot for the EU marketplace.

"Their now demonstrable interest is due to, not only our flagship technology, our proprietary automatic self-navigation software, GeckoNav(tm), but also the reality that we have a complete multitasking personal assistant robot, the CareBot. Our CareBot has interactive and 'command and control' capabilities enabled by GeckoChat(tm) and GeckoScheduler(tm), and the ability to routinely follow a designated family member with GeckoNav(tm) and GeckoTrak(tm).

"GeckoSystems' increasing visibility in Europe and the continuing positive reaction to our innovative mobile robot solutions and products allows GeckoSystems the opportunity to become established as a significant player in Europe. With the right partners we can supply cost effective solutions for security, eldercare, manufacturing, etc. and develop other products tailored specifically for the EU marketplace," continued Spencer.

The Managing Director of FLAGMAN GRUPP LTD., Vladimir Beljakov, comments:

"Strategy on reception of investments on the first stage 500,000 euros and for the necessary sum in future has been developed further. We made the decision on manufacture first three robots and sale to their client, what was accepted. 

"That, how quickly they will be sold the conclusion will be drawn of the market, and will opening financing on 0,5 million euro.

"I have agreed about a meeting with a company for discussion of the ready program for transfer technical and video of the data from the robot in the centre of control or to relatives.

"The second meeting will be for discussion of use of the program of transfer of the medical data in the centre of control or to relatives. Both programs are made in Estonia.

"After a meeting with them the skeleton of the European model of the robot for manufacture of first three will be defined.

"As to the Spanish firm that they have already approached with a Sweden company close to use for the robots of the program with artificial intelligence elements. I find that joint cooperation could be fruitful..."

Since Estonia is separated from Finland only by the Gulf of Finland, Mr. Beljakov is working with two government entities there, Tekes and TEM. Finland is one of the three most prosperous nations in the world. They have a well educated middle class and several decades of experience in providing national healthcare. 

"To potentially increase shareholder value, we have offered to this professionally managed EU company to spin off a publicly traded subsidiary of GeckoSystems for them such that they (here FLAGMAN GRUPP) may benefit from access to US equity markets. This would be a type of 'stock dividend' for our hundreds of investors.

"The cost saving benefits of GeckoSystems' suite of mobile robot technologies will generate multiple revenue streams for GeckoSystems in the form of licensing, royalties, training, and sales of various hardware systems and subsystems. I expect the synergies revealed in our ongoing confidential discussions to result in distribution into the EU market and enable significant cost reductions in the systems and subsystems we import from the EU. We are pleased to announce our closer proximity to enjoying revenues after our many years as a Developmental Stage Company, with the prospect of not only net profits, but also positive cash flow such that our nearly 1400 investors can enjoy the ROI they deserve," concluded Spencer.

About the CareBot:

GeckoSystems has focused on mobile robot safety for over ten years. Their first product, a family care robot, has multiple layers of safety precautions. These safeguards are enabled three ways: mechanical, electronic, and using computer software. First, the robot is very stable and difficult to tip over since nearly seventy percent of its weight is less than eight inches above the floor and sits low between large, ten-inch diameter wheels. The wheels are wide and soft enough such that if the robot did go over a child's arm, for example, it would not break the skin or any bones. Second, multiple layers of sensors are fused to provide a safety umbrella to enable actionable situational awareness. Going outward from the center of the CareBot is the GeckoTactileShroud(tm), which detects where on its shroud it has been bumped by people or animals. The CompoundedSensorArray(tm) detects virtually everything in the front and to the sides of this fully autonomous mobile robot up to thirty inches. Obstacles more distant are detected by twin ultrasonic rangefinders. Third, the advanced AI navigation software, GeckoNav(tm), takes in the hundreds of sensor readings per second and using its high level situational awareness, consistently avoids unforeseen static and/or dynamic obstacles for safe movements.

Like an automobile, the CareBot is made from steel, aluminum, plastic, and electronics, but with ten to twenty times the amount of software running. It has an aluminum frame, plastic shroud, two independently driven wheels, multiple sensor systems, microprocessors and several onboard computers connected by a local area network (LAN). The microprocessors directly interact with the sensor systems and transmit data to the onboard computers. The onboard computers each run independent, highly specialized cooperative/subsumptive artificial intelligence (AI) software programs, GeckoSavants, which interact to complete tasks in a timely, intelligent and common sense manner. GeckoSuper, GeckoNav, GeckoChat, GeckoScheduler and GeckoTrak are primary, high level GeckoSavants. GeckoNav is responsible for maneuvering, avoiding dynamic and/or static obstacles, seeking waypoints and patrolling. GeckoChat is responsible for interaction with the care-receiver such as answering questions, assisting with daily routines and reminders, and responding to other verbal commands. GeckoTrak, which is mostly transparent to the user, enables the CareBot to maintain proximity to the care-receiver using sensor fusion. The CareBot is a new type of Internet appliance, a personal assistant life support robot, which is accessible for remote video/audio monitoring and telepresence.

About GeckoSystems International Corporation:

Since 1997, GeckoSystems has developed a comprehensive, coherent, and sufficient suite of hardware and software inventions to enable a new type of home appliance (a personal robot) the CareBot(tm), to be created for the mass consumer marketplace. The suite of primary inventions includes: GeckoNav(tm), GeckoChat(tm), GeckoSuper(tm), GeckoScheduler(tm), and GeckoTrak(tm).

The primary market for this product is the family for use in eldercare, care for the chronically ill, and childcare. The primary distribution channel for this new home appliance is the thousands of independent personal computer retailers in the U.S. The manufacturing infrastructure for this new product category of mobile service robots is essentially the same as the personal computer industry. Several outside contract manufacturers have been identified and qualified their ability to produce up to 1,000 CareBots per month within four to six months.

The Company is market driven. At the time of founding, over twelve years ago, the Company did extensive primary market research to determine the demographic profile of the early adopters of the then proposed product line. Subsequent to, and based on that original market research, they have assembled numerous focus groups to evaluate the fit of the CareBot personal robot into the participant's lives and their expected usage. The Company has also frequently employed the Delphi market research methodology by contacting and interviewing senior executives, practitioners, and researchers knowledgeable in the area of elder care. Using this factual basis of internally performed primary and secondary market research, and third party research is the statistical substance for the Company's sales forecasts.

Not surprisingly the scientific statistical analyses applied revealed that elderly over sixty-five living alone in metropolitan areas with broadband Internet available and sufficient household incomes to support the increased costs were identified as those most likely to adopt initially. Due to the high cost of assisted living, nursing homes, etc. the payback for a CareBot(tm) is expected to be only six to eight months while keeping elderly care receivers independent, in their own long time homes, and living longer due to the comfort and safety of more frequent attention from their loved ones.

"We project the available market size in dollars for cost effective, utilitarian, multitasking eldercare personal robots in 2011 to be $74.0B, in 2012 to be $77B, in 2013 to be $80B, in 2014 to be $83.3B, and in 2015 to be $86.6B. With market penetrations of 0.03% in 2011, 0.06% in 2012, 0.22% in 2013, 0.53% in 2014, and 0.81% in 2015, we will anticipate CareBot sales, from this consumer market segment, only, of $22.0M, $44.0M, $176M, $440.2M, and $704.3M, respectively. We expect these sales despite -- and perhaps because of -- the present recession due to pent up demand for significant cost reduction in eldercare expenses," opined Spencer.

The foregoing forecasts do not include sales in non-metropolitan areas; elderly couples over 65 (only elderly living alone are in these forecasts); those chronically ill -- regardless of age -- or elderly living with their adult children.

The Company's "mobile robot solutions for safety, security and service(tm)" are appropriate not only for the consumer, but also professional healthcare, commercial security and defense markets. Professional healthcare require cost effective, timely errand running, portable telemedicine, etc. Homeland Security requires cost effective mobile robots to patrol and monitor public venues for weapons and WMD detection. Military users desire the elimination of the "man in the loop" to enable unmanned ground and air vehicles to not require constant human control and/or intervention.

The Company's business model is very much like that of an automobile manufacturer. Due to the final assembly, test, and shipping being done based on geographic and logistic realities; strategic business-to-business relationships can range from private labeling to joint manufacturing and distribution to licensing only.

Several dozen patent opportunities exist for the Company due to the many innovative and cost effective breakthroughs embodied not only in GeckoNav, GeckoChat, and GeckoTrak, but also in additional, secondary systems that include: GeckoOrient(tm), GeckoMotorController(tm), the GeckoTactileShroud(tm), the CompoundedSensorArray(tm), and the GeckoSPIO(tm).

The present senior management at GeckoSystems has over thirty-five years experience in consumer electronics sales and marketing and product development. Senior managers have been identified for the areas of manufacturing, marketing, sales, and finance.

While GeckoSystems has been in the Development Stage, the Company has accumulated losses to date in excess of six million dollars. In contrast, the Japanese government has spent one hundred million dollars in grants (to Sanyo, Toshiba, Hitachi, Fujitsu, NEC, etc.) over the same time period to develop personal robots for their eldercare crisis, yet no viable solutions have been developed.

GeckoSystems is the first mobile robot developer in the world to begin actual in-home eldercare evaluation trials.

What Does a CareBot Do for the Care Giver?

The short answer is that it decreases the difficulty and stress for the caregiver that needs to watch over Grandma, Mom, or other family members most, if not much, of the time day in and day out due to concerns about their well being, safety, and security. 

But, first let's look at some other labor saving, automatic home appliances most of us use routinely. For example, needing to do two or more necessary chores and/or activities at the same time, like laundering clothes and preparing supper. 

The automatic washing machine needs no human intervention after the dirty clothes are placed in the washer, the laundry powder poured in, and the desired wash cycle set. Then, this labor saving appliance runs automatically until the washed clothes are ready to be placed in another labor saving home appliance, the automatic clothes dryer. While the clothes are being washed and/or dried, the caregiver prepares supper using several time saving home appliances like the microwave oven, "crock" pot, blender, and conventional stove, with possible convection oven capabilities. 

After supper, the dirty pots, pans, and dishes are placed in the automatic dishwasher to be washed and dried while the family retires to the den to watch TV, and/or the kids to do homework. Later, perhaps after the kids have gone to bed, the caregiver may then have the time to fold, sort, and put up the now freshly laundered clothes.

So what does a CareBot do for the caregiver? It is a new type of labor saving, time management automatic home appliance.

For example, the care giver frequently feels time stress when they need to go shopping for 2 or 3 hours, and are uncomfortable when they have to be away for more than an hour or so. Time stress is much worse for the caregiver with a frail elderly parent that must be reminded to take medications at certain times of the day. How can the caregiver be away for 3-4 hours when Grandma must take her prescribed medication every 2 or 3 hours? If the caregiver is trapped in traffic for an hour or two beyond the 2 or 3 they expected to be gone, this "time stress" can be very difficult for the caregiver to moderate.

Not infrequently, the primary caregiver has a 24 hour, 7 days a week responsibility. After weeks and weeks of this sometimes tedious, if not onerous routine, how does the caregiver get a "day off?" To bring in an outsider is expensive (easily $75-125 per day for just 8 hours) and there is the concern that medication will be missed or the care receiver have an accident requiring immediate assistance by the caregiver, or someone they must designate. And the care receiver may be very resistant to a "stranger" coming in to her home and "running things."

So what is it worth for a care receiver to have an automatic system to help take care of Grandma? Just 3 or 4 days a month "off" on a daylong shopping trip, a visit with friends, or just take in a movie would cost $225-500 per month. And that scenario assumes that Grandma is willing to be taken care of by a "stranger" during those needed and appropriate days off.

So perhaps, an automatic caregiver, a CareBot, might be pretty handy, and potentially very cost effective from the primary caregiver's perspective.

What Does a CareBot Do for the Care Receiver?

It's a new kind of companion that always stays close to them enabling family and friends to care for them from afar. It tells them jokes, retells family anecdotes, reminds them to take medication, reminds them that family is coming over soon (or not at all), recites Bible verses, plays favorite songs and/or other music. It alerts them when unexpected visitors, or intruders are present. It notifies designated caregivers when a potentially harmful event has occurred, such as a fall, fire in the home, or simply been not found by the CareBot for too long. It responds to calls for help and notifies those that the caregiver determined should be immediately notified when any predetermined adverse event occurs.

The family can customize the personality of the CareBot. The voice's cadence can be fast or slow. The intonation can be breathy, or abrupt. The voice's volume can range from very loud to very soft. The response phrases from the CareBot for recognized words and phrases can be colloquial and/or unique to the family's own heritage. The personality can range from brassy to timid depending on how the care giver, and others appropriate, chooses it to be.

Generally, the care receiver is pleased at the prospect of family being able to drop in for a "virtual visit" using the onboard webcam and video monitor for at home "video conferencing." The care receiver may feel much more needed and appreciated when their far flung family and friends can "look in" on them anywhere in the world where they can get broadband internet access and simply chat for a bit.

Why is Grandma really interested in a CareBot? She wants to stay in her home, or her family's home, as long as she possibly can. What's that worth? Priceless. Or, an average nursing home is $5,000 per month for an environment that is too often the beginning of a spiral downward in the care receiver's health. That's probably $2-3K more per month for them to be placed where they really don't want to be. Financial payback on a CareBot? Less than a year- Emotional payback for the family to have this new automatic care giver? Nearly instantaneous-

Safe Harbor:

Statements regarding financial matters in this press release other than historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company intends that such statements about the Company's future expectations, including future revenues and earnings, technology efficacy and all other forward-looking statements be subject to the Safe Harbors created thereby. The Company is a development stage firm that continues to be dependent upon outside capital to sustain its existence. Since these statements (future operational results and sales) involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time, the Company's actual results may differ materially from expected results.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.
    www.GeckoSystems.com
    or
    Main number: 1-866-CAREBOT
    International: +1 678-413-9236