GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. (PINKSHEETS/exchange>: GCKO) (http://www.geckosystems.com/) -- announced today that since their first annual "Mobile Robots in Motion" conference earlier this month, they have been solicited by another first tier contract manufacturer interested in the high volume manufacture of their product line. GeckoSystems is a dynamic leader in the emerging Mobile Service Robot industry revolutionizing their development and usage with "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security and Service™."
Martin Spencer, President/CEO of GeckoSystems stated: "As all of us here at GeckoSystems are excited about this development, due to the nature of the upcoming discussions, I feel it is in the best interest of all parties involved to withhold the name of this contract manufacturing company at this time. This new solicitation from another first tier contract manufacturer is particularly gratifying since they already manufacture a military robotic platform for one of our competitors."
GeckoSystems' first commercial product, the CareBot™, has been carefully designed for manufacturability for over ten years. Sixty percent of its direct cost of manufacture can be imported in container quantities readily. These are the systems and subsystems such as low power, low clock x86 Mini ITX motherboards, laptop hard drives, WiFi routers, webcams, audio amplifiers, DC drive motors, drive wheels, casters, etc. In defense industry parlance these are "commercial off the shelf" or COTS. The next twenty percent of direct manufacturing costs comes from the production of the custom hardware boards the company has developed to enable GeckoOrient™, GeckoSPIO™, GeckoMotorController™, etc. These custom printed circuit boards are populated with commodity parts readily available from sources like DigiKey, etc. The final twenty percent of direct cost of manufacturer comes from the custom sheet aluminum GeckoFrame™ and thermoformed plastic GeckoShroud™.
Over the last ten years GeckoSystems has had intimate discussions with numerous ISO certified contract manufacturers regarding their robot caregiver. In all instances they have told the company that the "economic order quantity" (EOQ) was twenty to thirty platforms, not hundreds as one might otherwise expect.
"When I joined GeckoSystems several years ago, I was pleased to learn of their long term emphasis on 'design for manufacturability.' To that end, the systems which I have refined and enhanced have always been performed with ease of low cost fabrication, assembly, configuration and calibration as primary goals," remarked Mark Peele, Vice President, R&D, GeckoSystems.
"Due to the foregoing realities, we have successfully kept this entry barrier very low for us by not having to produce five hundred CareBots in the first batch, but only twenty-five. This will enable us to expand our in home evaluation trials readily and ramp into production of one thousand CareBots per month within six months. This will better enable us to meet the pent up demand in eldercare for caregiving robots and increase ROI for our investors," observed Spencer.
"For the last several years, the U.S. eldercare crisis is commonly portrayed as 'not happening' until the baby boomers reach the age of great reliance on their children and younger family members. The truth of the matter, since the US is the only country in the top ten of the world's industrialized nations without national healthcare, is that we really don't have solid statistics for our true 'bottom line' annual US eldercare costs. Many middle class baby boomers are presently suffering significant financial, time and emotional pressures attempting to care for their surviving WWII and Korean War era parents," reflected Spencer.
The elderly frequently endure loneliness and/or loss of independence when living in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities. This new type of remote medical monitoring system, a CareBot, will postpone, if not eliminate that trauma to them. Their families can now better manage the difficult decisions regarding the independence they allow their now dependent parent while minimizing the risk the adult care giver is willing to assume for a prudent level of independence for their now reliant parent.
At the time of the company's founding, extensive primary market research was performed to determine the demographic profiles and the market segments appropriate to identify the probable early adopters of eldercare capable personal robots. Not surprisingly the scientific statistical analyses revealed that elderly over 65 living alone in metropolitan areas with broadband Internet available and sufficient household incomes to support were identified as those most likely to adopt initially. Using U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2000 census the pent-up demand, to the degree possible for metro areas only, is -- to those not privy to this type of statistical analysis -- nearly unbelievable. 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 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 2010 to be $74.0B, in 2011 to be $77B, in 2012 to be $80B, in 2013 to be $83.3B, and in 2014 to be $86.6B. With market penetrations of 0.03% in 2010, 0.06% in 2011, 0.22% in 2012, 0.53% in 2013, and 0.81% in 2014, 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," concluded 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, such as those afflicted with Alzheimers, etc, or already living with their adult children.
Some believe that the technology is approved and paid for through options such as the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, which broadens the definition, use, and funding of technology at home. Other sources include long-term care insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, Medicaid waivers, and (potentially) stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, under the provisions for health information technology and electronic medical records for acute care.
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.