SOURCE: GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.

September 24, 2010 00:05 ET

GeckoSystems Applauds 2013 $17B Service Robot Sales in "World Robotics 2010" Report

CONYERS, GA--(Marketwire - September 24, 2010) -  GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. (PINKSHEETS: GCKO) (http://www.geckosystems.com/) announced today that the International Federation of Robotics' (IFR) Statistical Department has recently forecasted $17 billion in annual sales for the global service robot market by end of 2013 in their report published in Frankfurt, Germany September 14.

GeckoSystems is a dynamic leader in the emerging Mobile Service Robot (MSR) industry revolutionizing their development and usage with their "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security, and Service™."

The IFR Statistical Department, which is hosted by the VDMA Robotics + Automation Association, publishes the study "World Robotics" every year. Their unique publication presents comprehensive global statistics on service robots, market analysis, case studies and international research strategies of service robots using the Delphi market research methodology. This methodology differs dramatically from primary market research in that providers of service robots were asked their opinions for future forecasts. Primary market research is statistically sound in that it focuses on the actual number of purchases at present coupled with market segmentation and demographic analyses to project the probable sales. Primary market research, all things being equal, is much more time consuming and expensive than the "polling" method of the Delphi methodology. The benefit of primary market research as performed by GeckoSystems is the significantly higher levels of confidence for the sales projections.

In the new study, the IFR Statistical Department reports that about 77,000 service robots for professional use were sold worldwide last year. The total value of professional (mobile) service robots sold was about US$13 billion. Additionally, about 5.6 million units for domestic use and about 3.1 million units for entertainment and leisure sold up to end of 2009.

Mobile service robots for personal and domestic use are recorded separately in this report, as their unit value generally is only a fraction of that of many types of service robots for professional use. They are also produced for a mass market with completely different pricing and marketing channels.

Continuing, according to the IFR report, mobile service robots for personal and domestic use are mainly in the areas of domestic (household) robots, which include vacuum cleaning and lawn-mowing robots, and entertainment and leisure robots, including toy robots, hobby systems and education and training robots. The market for robots for handicap assistance is still small, but is expected to increase substantially in the next 10 years. Robots for personal transportation and home security and surveillance robots will also increase in importance in the future. Millions of these low-cost products are already sold and almost 11 million are forecasted to be sold between 2010 and 2013 representing an estimated value of US$5 billion.

However, the number of mobile service robots for professional use will double between 2010-2013 according to this IFR report. Turning to the projections for the period 2010-2013, the stock of service robots for professional use is forecast to increase to some 80,000 units. Application areas with strong growth are robots for defense applications, milking robots, logistic systems, inspection robots, medical robots and mobile robot platforms for multiple uses. The total value of professional service robots is forecasted at about US$ 12 billion.

According to the report, numerous developments are aimed at the application of robots, eg. as assistants or butlers for performing useful jobs in everyday environments. Such robots are required to carry out bring-and-collect operations (drinks, books, etc.), perform simple tasks in public or domestic environments (picking up objects off the floor, watering plants, operating and arranging furniture, heating up food etc.) or to provide access to information on demand. A certain focus is put on providing these services to elderly people as in most industrialized countries the number of people needing care will increase drastically in the next decades. The physical layout of our everyday environment is organized with respect to human comfort and not the use of robots.

(Editor's note: Hence the potentially great present value of GeckoSystems' suite of proprietary robotic technologies that demonstrably enable home use. The CareBot was designed from a clean sheet of paper beginning over 13 years ago to address those very difficulties.)

Their projections for the period 2010-2013 indicate the stock of service robots for professional use is forecast to increase to some 80,000 units. Application areas with strong growth are defense, rescue and security applications, field robots, logistic systems, inspection robots, medical robots and mobile robot platforms for multiple use."

GeckoSystems plans to develop mobile service robots for commercial security, professional healthcare, agriculture, etc. using the suite of enabling, proprietary robotic technologies developed for their first product, the CareBot.

In home usage of personal service robots for the period 2010-2013 is projected to be about 11.4 million units of service robots for personal use to be sold. For all types of domestic robots (vacuum cleaning, lawn-mowing, window cleaning and other types), sales in the period 2010-2013 could reach some 6.7 million units. The market for entertainment and leisure robots, which includes toy robots, is forecast at about 4.6 million units, most of which, of course, are very low cost.

Martin Hägele, Chairman of the IFR Service Robot Group concluded: "Even though these robot companions or assistants have the prospect of appealing to a mass market, it is felt that the required technological progress, attractive product designs and low-cost manufacturing pose significant challenges and may make this idea more of a long-term project that will not reach full maturity before the year 2020." 

"Clearly, given the foregoing perception of international robotics market research firms such as IFR, GeckoSystems has 'first mover' advantage due to having solved many of the issues and concerns involving human safety and mobile service robots (MSRs) working efficiently with no human control or intervention in dynamic, unstructured environments. Our on going world's first in home elder care robot trials gives substance to the cost effective benefit of our suite of enabling mobile service robot solutions," reflected Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems.

Service robots can be used to provide domestic aid for the elderly and disabled. They will serve various functions ranging from cleaning to entertainment to remote monitoring (telepresence). The high cost of labor in developed countries and the increasing need for assisted living has led to the development of the service robotics market. As service robots are in greater proximity to humans, the technology involves more safety concerns over human-machine interaction. However, developments in the manufacture of intelligent and safer robots by GeckoSystems address the issues of safety, manipulation, and sensing. Thus, GeckoSystems is well positioned to advance to the day when every home has a cost effective, truly utilitarian personal companion robot by ten years or more!

"It goes without saying that when an internationally renowned market research firm independently confirms our own forecasts as to the magnitude of the emerging service robot industry, that we derive some degree of satisfaction that our own internal forecasts continue to be modest in their projections. While this unique publication presents statistics on mobile service robots, market analysis, case studies and international research strategies of service robots, we believe our suite of technologies and product development, as exemplified in our CareBot™, to be several years ahead of their expectations and our numerous competitors. We say this with some substance since we have been engaged in the world's first in home elder care robot trials that give us a 'first mover' opportunity. We expect this reality and the scope of the market to reward our GCKO stockholders with a satisfying ROI," observed Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems.

About the CareBot:

Like an automobile, mobile robots are made from steel, aluminum, plastic, and electronics, but with ten to twenty times the amount of software running. The CareBot has an aluminum frame, plastic shroud, two independently driven wheels, multiple sensor systems, microprocessors and several onboard computers connected in 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. GeckoNav, GeckoChat and GeckoTrak are primary 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 an Internet appliance that is accessible for remote video/audio monitoring and telepresence.

About International Federation of Robotics:

The International Federation of Robotics was established in 1987 in connection with the 17th International Symposium on Robotics, as a professional non-profit organization, by robotics organizations from over 15 countries. Since 1970 an International Symposium on Robotics is organized every year on a different continent, in a different country and another city. The Symposium is systematically organized in conjunction with an International Robot Exhibition.

The purpose of the International Federation of Robotics is to promote research, development, use and international co-operation in the entire field of robotics to act as a focal point for organizations and governmental representatives in activities related to robotics.

VDMA Robotics and Automation host the IFR. The IFR Statistical Department, which is hosted by the VDMA Robotics + Automation association publishes two studies World Robotics every year.

An Executive Summary for their recent report can be viewed at:
http://www.worldrobotics.org/downloads/2010_executive_summary.pdf

Contact:
www.worldrobotics.org
www.ifr.org
www.automatica-munich.com
www.isr-robotik-2010.com

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™, to be created for the mass consumer marketplace. The suite of primary inventions includes: GeckoNav™, GeckoChat™ and GeckoTrak™.

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, nearly 12 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™ 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.

Using U.S. Census Bureau data and various predictive statistical analyses, the Company projects 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. 

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™" 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™, GeckoMotorController™, the GeckoTactileShroud™, the CompoundedSensorArray™, and the GeckoSPIO™.

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.

By the end of this year, the Company plans to complete productization of its CareBot offering with the introduction of its fourth generation personal robot, the CareBot 4.0 MSR. The Company expects to be the first personal robot developer and manufacturer in the world to begin 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 any where 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:
www.GeckoSystems.com

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Contact Information

  • GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.
    Telephone:
    Main number: 1-866-CAREBOT (227-3268)
    International: +1 678-413-9236