SOURCE: GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.

March 03, 2010 00:05 ET

GeckoSystems to Discuss Expansion Capabilities of CareBots™ at "Mobile Robots in Motion" Conference

CONYERS, GA--(Marketwire - March 3, 2010) -  GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. (PINKSHEETS: GCKO) (http://www.geckosystems.com/) announced today that they will be discussing and demonstrating the realization of their long time design goals for mobile service robot expandability, extensibility, and non-obsolescence of their "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security and Service™" at their "Mobile Robots in Motion" conference March 24-25, 2010.

"Through out the world, many countries (such as the U.S., Japan, the U.K., etc.) are very concerned with reducing health care costs, particularly in the delivery. The now common access to the Internet by the consumer and professional health care organizations has enabled easy data communication between people, their homes, and commercial workplaces. Just as it was, and remains important, that personal computers be easily upgraded and expanded into new productivity boosting tasks, so is GeckoSystems' CareBot. GeckoSystems' mobile robot solutions use a multi-layered 'biological hierarchical' hardware and software architecture. Virtually all forms of life in our world have this innate capability.

"One might ask: 'What vital signs data can the CareBot collect and who gets to see that data?' GeckoSystems' CareBot has an onboard local area network (LAN) that enables literally dozens of computers and devices to be used concurrently on board. (Presently there are over ten.) The CareBot has Internet accessibility. It can send and receive email with files attached. It can read email out loud for the care receiver using GeckoChat. And it can forward files to authorized persons via the Internet.

"If a healthcare professional deems (and is authorized by the primary care giver) that the CareBot should request a blood pressure reading, and it has that third party system incorporated, it can take that data and send it to the parties designated by the primary caregiver. If the health care professional determines that blood sugar should be checked, and the CareBot has that third party system incorporated, once again it can take that data, perhaps using voice prompts from GeckoChat™ to assist the care receiver in that reading, and once again send it to the parties designated by the primary caregiver.

"If there is a need for video conferencing between the caregiver (or a medical professional) and care receiver, the robustness of the CareBot's 'biological hierarchical' architecture enables that to readily be employed over the Internet just as we presently use webcams and the Internet for spontaneous video conferencing.

"One might also ask: 'What enables the CareBot to do this?' It is a guided process for vital signs using appropriate third party sensor systems using GeckoChat to interact verbally and GeckoScheduler™ to know when to perform a timely guided body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygenation level, or blood glucose level measurements. If the care receiver does not comply with the guidance from the CareBot, the personal companion robot may be programmed to notify the primary care giver, and/or others, of the care receivers' refusal or inability to assist in the needed vital sign updates," explained Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems.

From a hardware and software standpoint, the short answer is the multiple onboard computers in a LAN configuration layered on top of the GeckoSPIO™, our advanced mobile robot controller board. For example, GeckoChat can communicate not only with people, but also literally dozens and dozens of different sensors and/or sensor systems using the GeckoSPIO. These 'expansion cards' can be for blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygenation level, blood sugar level, etc. and be physically mounted on board the CareBot. The GeckoSuper™ coordinates data from all the sensor systems by way of the GeckoSPIO in concert with verbal interaction with GeckoChat such that the CareBot can respond in appropriate and timely ways.

"The GeckoSPIO is the critical interface between the robot's physical platform and higher AI functions. This interface provides a level of abstraction for the commands sent to, and the data sent from, the robot platform. The abstraction and hierarchal architecture the GeckoSPIO provides simplifies interacting with the platform and the real world for the high-level software, along with enabling a wide array of sensor fusion techniques," stated Mark Peele, Vice President, Research and Development, GeckoSystems.

The GeckoSPIO enables sensor fusion and management with seven eight-bit MCU's with eight pulse width modulation (PWM) outputs; over two hundred digital, forty analog to digital, seventeen serial, and two 10/100mhz Ethernet ports. Sensors worn by the care receiver can be accessed by the CareBot wirelessly for transmission to the primary care giver and other authorized parties via the Internet. Vital sign sensors such as blood pressure, pulse rate, etc. can be on board the CareBot and that data transmitted to suitable parties.

"Since we began our world's first in home evaluation trials for eldercare capable personal robots late last fall, we have received many inquiries as to 'how are they going?' Very well and better than expected in some significant ways, so all of us here at GeckoSystems are excited about this upcoming "Mobile Robots in Motion" stakeholder conference to publicly demonstrate our state of the art mobile robots, their technologies and our first product, a personal companion robot, the CareBot. 

"We will be having this conference in our new (since Jan. 1 this year), 4,000 square feet R&D and manufacturing facility in the Honey Creek area of Rockdale County, just south of Conyers, Ga. We believe our attendees' planned presence is due to not only our flagship product, our proprietary automatic self-navigation software, GeckoNav™, but also the reality that we have a complete multitasking personal companion robot, the CareBot, with verbal interaction and 'command and control' capabilities arising from GeckoChat, and the ability to routinely follow a designated family member with GeckoTrak™ that has been in limited evaluation trials for over two months now," reminded Spencer.

Discussions and live demonstrations of many, if not most, GeckoSystems' mobile robot solutions such as GeckoNav™, GeckoChat, GeckoTrak, GeckoScheduler, GeckoZap™, GeckoOrient™, GeckoSPIO, GeckoMotorController™, the CompoundedSensorArray™, etc. will be presented during this two day conference. This conference, with its live demonstrations, will enable many industry observers and investors to witness and determine for themselves the proximity to market and consumer acceptance GeckoSystems' first product, the CareBot, will enjoy. Additionally they will be better able to evaluate the probability of income streams from technology licensing and applicability in other markets besides the consumer, such as commercial security, commercial cleaning, public safety, professional healthcare, government systems, agriculture, and education.

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.

"One of the many reasons we had our conference last fall, and perhaps several this year, is that 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating.' In other words, very few people have ever seen a personal companion robot in action and consequently do not understand how difficult our many inventions are to achieve. However, live demonstrations give our suite of enabling, proprietary technologies credence and value. We have several large markets before us due to our 'first mover' advantage in them. We are hopeful that some of the firms with which we are having licensing discussions regarding usage of some our technologies will also be in attendance," concluded Spencer.

Journalists are encouraged to contact Mr. Spencer regarding the progress of GeckoSystems' in home evaluation trials and potential attendance at their upcoming invitation only "Mobile Robots in Motion" conference. Journalists and other interested parties may submit their request for an invitation at their website or call 678-413-9236.

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 companion 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.

"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™" 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.

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