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Robotic Toys by WowWee

Updated on February 20, 2016

Welcome to the Robotic World of Wowwee

I wanted to write this hub page because I was fascinated by the story of how a toy company produced one of the worlds most advanced and interactive robotic toys based on nature. Here this hub provides a potted history of WowWee and its creative genius Mark Tilden. In addition to featuring a of few of its popular robotic toys.

In 2004, a Hong Kong based company called "WowWee" revolutionized the way we interact with robotic toy companions forever by launching the most popular robotic toy in the world, The Robosapien. Robospaien sold over 6 million units in its first 5 months and was the first commercially available biomorphic robot, A robot designed to mimic biological principles such as mechanic, sensor systems and behaviours or personalities.

Robosapien was so successful that Robosapien V2 was launched in 2005, with added functionality and speech capability. Other robots released by WowWee included the Roboraptor, an animatronic dinosaur, the RS Media robot featuring a complete multimedia experience that allows users to create and edit functions. And in 2008 the next generation RS Tri-Bot robot was released, a three-wheeled personality packed companion equipped with multiple play modes.

By continuing to focus on developing breakthrough robotic technology, WowWee continues to create new categories in the robotics toys industry with award-winning products that are imaginative and inventive. Categories include WowWee Robotic,"WowWee FlyTech" , WowWee Alive and WowWee Technologies producing robots that walk, talk, crawl, fly, purr and with remote telepresence and communications capabilities.

I hope you enjoy learning more about the technology behind WowWee as well as their Robots, which are more then just toys.

The WowWee story

WowWee Ltd is a Hong Kong based company founded by two Canadian brothers, Richard and Peter Yanofsky in 1982 originally as an research & development company for other toy makers, Producing products such as Power Rangers Power Gloves and the Talking Tots dolls.

In 1987, the company changed their focus and started building toys themselves. There goal was to create sophisticated, intelligent robots that would interact with their environment and eventually with humans in an autonomous way. WowWee first produced a number of products including a robotic dog (MegaByte), T-Rex, and the Animaltronics and Dinotronics lines of remote control animals. WowWee was later sold to American multinational toy and board game corporation Hasbro in 1998.

BEAM Robots
BEAM Robots

The creative genus behind the WowWee products is Mark Tilden, a Robotic physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory best known for inventing B.E.A.M robotic (Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics) robotics that primarily uses simple analogue circuits instead of a microprocessor to produce the most basic designs for that robot to performing the task for which it was designed.

Mark Tilden, was reportedly hired as a consultant by Peter Yanofsky after noticing him on the Discovery Channel, He finally joined WowWee in 2001 producing the B.I.O. Bug. Unfortunately, B.I.O Bug was not as successful as either WowWee or Hasbro would have liked. After joining WowWee in 2001, Tilden also focused on developing Robosapien. The project was canceled several times and a long with limitation place on WowWee by Hasbro, WowWee ended the partnership in 2003. Robosapien was finally released in 2004 and over 6 million units were reportedly sold in the first 5 months since the launch. Mark Tilden continued to develop The Robosapien humanoid series evolving to include the Robosapien V2 robot (2005), Roboreptile (2006), the RS Media (2006) and the RoboQuad (2007).

In 2007 WowWee released the"FlyTech Dragonfly" , a remote control flying ornithopter developed with inventor Sean Frawley. The Dragonfly was named as one of the inventions of the year by TIME magazine in 2007. The success of the Dragonfly led to other flying toys being developed by WowWee under the Flytech brand such as the Bladestar, (a remote controlled helicopter) the first flying toy with sensor-based navigation and the Butterfly, a wind-up ornithopter aimed at younger children.

In 2007 WowWee Robots became so popoular their were featured in McDonald's Happy Meal's worldwide and in museums and exhibits across the United States. At the 2008 International Consumer Electroci Show in Las Vegas, several new products were announced including the Rovio and Femsapien. Today WowWee continues amaze and delight millions of Robot fan around the world with there innovative and entertaining creations.

Mark Tilden talks about WowWee Robots

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    • Whistleman profile image

      Whistleman 4 years ago

      WowWee absolutely has made some great robots. (I have two Robosapiens watching me type this comment). I do think they have lost their way a bit since Mark Tilden moved on a few years ago. He was definitely the creative force behind a lot of what they were doing. It would be nice to see a revival in the hobbyist/hacker community to support the older 'bots.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      enjoyed stopping by your lens tonight, thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Awesome lens!

    • staymor profile image

      staymor 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      ErHawkns7100 6 years ago

      Cool stuff.

    • profile image

      anilsaini 6 years ago

      great work

    • TyGatti LM profile image

      TyGatti LM 6 years ago

      Nice lens :) I love WowWee products :D