Bossa Nova's cute robotic penguin will hit local stores this month and Pittsburgh is the first in line.
The region was selected as the test market for the official U.S. sale of Penbo, the cute dewy-eyed robot that waddles, sings, has a magic heart and lays an egg. Penbo is available at select Toys R Us locations for $59.99 from now through June 27 as long as supplies last.
It will be available at major retail and consumer electronic outlets in August and anyone can sign up on the i-loverobots website to win one or find more information.
"Our goal is to increase the awareness of Penbo and have a good showing in this test market," says David Palmer, co-founder and COO. "We'll also be running ads on TV so we can see how parents and children respond to it."
A Carnegie Mellon spinout, Bossa Nova launched two intelligent, interactive robotic toys in Europe last year, Penbo and Prime-8, a fast-moving gorilla with swinging arms; both were sellouts overseas. A third toy, a speedy dinosaur named Blazor, will also be released this year at a lower price point, Palmer says.
Both bots were sold on QVC for a brief spell last year. The toymakers hope the battery-operated bots will generate an interest in science and technology at a young age.
"Pittsburgh was viewed as a representative middle market city," says Palmer. "Plus it's our homebase and we can work with local groups to promote it. We always felt we had something unique and different, but the real test is the market."
This Saturday Penbo will be at the Carnegie Science Center where children can see it firsthand and play with it.
Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: David Palmer, Bossa Nova
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Image courtesy of Bossa Nova