The Silicon Review
‘For teachers, researchers, engineers or legacy systems developers who need to front real-world applications and robotics projects with a digital face.’
White Box Robotics was founded in 2000 by Thomas Burick to fulfill the vision of changing the world - one robot at a time.
White Box Robotics today, works with companies and researchers who need to put robots to work inside digital ecosystems and digital life systems where complex data and processing is required at the point of human contact. Think of our robots as mobile peripherals interacting, responding to and moving with your end users, your family or your colleagues.
White Box Robotics was founded to give the mobile robotics industry a leap forward. The company aims to give enthusiasts, teachers, researchers and technologists a radical tool that breaks down walls and allows people to build advanced mobile robots.
The company’s mission is to develop mobile robotic platforms that empower people by eliminating the difficult learning curve associated with the building of these machines. Its focus is to create and develop PC-BOTs – plug-and-play robots created almost entirely from off-the-shelf industry-standard computer parts in a framework that is open to extension, creativity and continuing innovation. This technology allows people with a rudimentary understanding of assembling or upgrading devices such as PCs to build onto this new species of robot.
The White Box team delivers the depth and breadth to catapult robot technology into the rapidly emerging market for personal, commercial and security robotic applications.
In 2005, White Box was acquired by Frontline Robotics of Ottawa, Canada and, in working together, the company designed, developed, manufactured and launched the 914 PC-BOT – the first of the 9-series robots – a general service robot designed for digital life in the home, at work and at play.
Released to early market adopters and pioneer purchasers in December, 2006 and shown as part of the Digital Life Show in New York – the 914 PC-BOT won “Best of Show: Future Technology” award.
The 914 PC-BOT: A robot designed for teachers, researchers, engineers and legacy system developers who need to front real-world applications and robotics projects with a digital face
The 9-series PC-BOT is a standard for the world that allows innovation-based communities to focus their energies on a common platform and deliver data at the point of human contact.
Inspired by world-class design and fueled by advanced engineering, the 914 PC-BOT gives enthusiasts, educators and business partners alike the opportunity to create exciting, functional, mobile robots from off-the-shelf computer parts...
It is the first, patented robot design to employ standard PC parts... It does everything a PC does, houses the same plug-and-play hardware as a PC does, runs the same operating systems that a PC runs – but – it’s mobile. In short it’s a PC that has read-to-me, speak-to-me, move-with-me functionality that houses enough horsepower out-of-the-box to access and process the world’s legacy data – and put it in the hands (literally) of a human being. It moves, talks, sees, hears, senses and can physically react and respond to the environment it is placed in.
The PC-BOT can be easily configured to perform a myriad of useful and entertaining functions. It does everything you would expect a desktop PC to do – plus it moves by remote control or autonomously avoids obstacles, transmits and receives – voice, video, data and text – but additionally the 914 is intended to put scalable data and processing power into a complex mobile robotics digital world that involves human beings.
It is an intelligent machine for teachers, researchers, applications and systems developers trying to do simple or complex things with an element of mobility in mind.
The 9-series robot isn’t merely a cold conglomeration of sheet metal and electronics. It is a companion whom we have longed to know all our lives and we have deliberately engineered real emotion into the metal and the plastics in order to evoke a positive and energy-charged human response.
At White Box, the creators understand – it’s about the turn of the wrench, the feel of the screwdriver in your hand... working with earthly elements – copper, steel, silver, lead, and oil that is this spectacular machine. It’s about manipulating these materials in such a way to create quality of life at the end of a digital stream for a real person.
The developers have opened the hardware and the software to you so that you can build this modern machine and watch it live, move, interact with the world. “For just an intoxicating second it takes you somewhere else. We hope you feel shifted ... suspended, briefly glancing twenty-five years into the future. Somehow you’ve had the privilege to build a machine that feels so miraculously alive!” exults CEO Thomas Burick.
“White Box Robotics consists of pioneers, daredevils, and evangelists for this movement. As a community, we have the opportunity to improve the quality of people’s lives through robotics and through a robot that can stand and move inside a digital world that we all have to live in every day. We will actively contribute to this future where robots will be a part of our everyday existence... assisting the elderly, providing companionship, looking after our welfare, our security, our identity and protecting the innocent.” - Thomas Burick, CEO and Founder