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Toys and Games

Sphero makes cool toys. Can its offshoot make cool robots?

The startup, known for its Disney, Marvel and Star Wars robots, is splitting in two. One company will build toys, while the other wants to help with the chores.

These aren't the droids Misty will be making for you. Yet.

Lucasfilm

Flying cars are still a long ways off, but could we at least get a Rosie from "The Jetsons"?

Misty Robotics, a new company, hopes to deliver a primitive form of automaton to our homes sometime next year. The company has raised $11.5 million from investors Venrock and Foundry Group to make that happen.

You've probably never heard of Misty. But you may be familiar with Sphero, the company that's spinning it out. The robot-toy maker has made its mark with must-have gadgets, like the interactive BB-8 Star Wars toy released two years ago and the critically acclaimed Lightning McQueen toy released earlier this year ahead of Pixar's "Cars 3" movie. So far, it's shipped more than 3 million robot toys.

Tim Enwall, who's runs Misty, said his company's robots won't look like C-3PO, the lovably silly cyborg from Star Wars, or the nightmare fuel that are the four-legged robots designed by Boston Dynamics. Instead, they'll be devices normal people can feel comfortable bringing into their homes.

A teaser image from Misty Robotics.

Misty Robotics

"We learned a lot from BB-8 about character and personality," Enwall said. His team is hoping its robots will find a middle ground between helping with chores and entertaining us.

Enwall declined to provide specifics other than to say it'll be released sometime next year and that its price will be more expensive than a Roomba but less than the hundreds of thousands of dollars researchers spent making those four-legged robot beasts.

"Our vision is that these are in everyone's homes and offices, so that price point has to be accessible," he said.

The new robot model has been in the works for the past 18 months. 

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