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Sphero, the company behind robotic toys like the BB-8 robot and educational robotics kits, announced today that itís spinning its public safety division into a new company, dubbed Company Six. It plans to commercialize robots and AI software for first responders, government, defense and ďthose who work in dangerous situations.Ē While Sphero didnít say that Company Six will make robots for police, it sounds like the new company could be headed in that direction.

ďOur team is excited to build critically-needed robotic hardware and advanced software solutions that help first responders and people with dangerous jobs,Ē said Company Six CEO Jim Booth, formerly Spheroís COO.
Sphero has brought four million robots to market, including programmable tank robots, and itís experience in mobility could come in handy. Weíve also seen it make wearables. Though so far, those have been used to create music, not keep users safe.

Itís not entirely surprising that Sphero would see an opportunity in the military and first responder space. Police in Massachusetts are reportedly testing Boston Dynamicsí Spot robot. The UK military has bomb disposal robots, and the US is testing robotic combat vehicles.
Plus, Sphero has hinted that making robotic toys isnít as lucrative as you might think. In 2018, it cut jobs after a lousy holiday season, and it quit making licensed Disney bots like BB-8 and R2-D2. At the time, it explained that the toys didnít sell well after their tie-in movies were released.

While it would be great to have robots that keep first responders safe, itís still a bit disturbing to think that future robot armies might evolve from the adorable, educational toys youíve been using for years.