Pittsburgh robotic toymaker Bossa Nova Concepts is
creating a whole new relationship between technology and toys.
In bringing tech to tots,
the company's founder, Sarjoun Skaff, CEO David Palmer and Business
Strategist John Feghali, faced alternative approaches. One was to
tailor the technology to connect with kids' recognized level of
experience with mechanical toys, and then extend it. The other, which
they chose instead, is to use the most advanced technology to engage
the kids' instincts for play in a way that has never been done
before--at least not with a manufactured toy.
In simplest terms, they have shifted the paradigm of play for
kids by providing toys
with life-like movements and appearance. The key feature is the toys move, walk and roll with the child
without losing balance. That's no easy thing--even sometimes for real
live creatures playing with a 10-year-old.
Bossa Nova represents the
most advanced understanding of computing and robotics coming out of Carnegie Mellon University. Behind it all, of course, is the extraordinary power of
miniaturized electronics and the evolution of computer languages that
provide most Furbys with more computing capacity than America used to
send men to the moon.
In addition, the technology-focused business development infrastructure in Pittsburgh
helped the Bossa Nova trio get their business on its feet. This
included encouragement and targeted finance from the Pittsburgh Technology Council, Carnegie Mellon's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation, and the business management and finance team at Innovation Works.