Denning Mobile Robotics, Inc., was the first to list on the stock
market, (NASDAQ symbol originally GARD and later DMRI), which it did
in 1982. Despite having public funding similar to what some dot.com
companies had 2 decades later, and being founded by important names
in business and technology, by early 1993 the company had failed to
commercialize its technology and products. In late 1993, the company
which had closed its doors 9 months earlier and was entering Chapter
7 bankruptcy, was rescued by Branch & Associates, becoming 4 years
later its industry leader as other robotics companies continued to
struggle. After Branch & Associates quit its association with
Denning in July 1997, the company again struggled for another 2
years before finally closing its doors forever in 1999.
Still in Business as Denning Branch
|MRV-8 (dynamically balanced articulated walking robot)
|UTV-100 LaserNav IRGV
|UTV-200 LaserNav IRGV
2310 Shrub End Road, Wattle Hill, Tasmania 7172, Australia
Australia Tel/fax: (03) 6265 2102
International Tel/fax: +61-3-6265-2102
Branch & Associates, (B&A), released its first robot product, the Tasman Turtle,
in 1979. This LOGO educational turtle featured speech recognition, speech
synthesis, electronic compass, touch sensors, drawing pen, stepper motor motion
control, infra red RS232 interface and expansions ports. With no other
commercially available mobile robots, this unit was also a popular hobby
platform. Various versions were released through to 1984, including the compact
Turtle Tot, the affordable Standard Turtle, and others. Prices ranged from $340
to $2,400 and about 2,500 were sold. Kit robots were also marketed, primarily
the Hobbybot in 1985. Another innovative product was the two legged dynamically
balanced Mr. Walker in 1986.
The company in those days was called Aero Electronics Pty Ltd, incorporating
later as Flexible Systems for manufacturing and marketing, of which B&A was a
corporate partner. In 1984 the company continued in its own right as B&A then in
December 1993 took majority control of Denning Mobile Robotics, Inc. in the USA,
trading as Denning Branch International Robotics. This relationship ended in
July 1997 when the company returned to its Australian offices as Denning Branch
International Robotics (Australia).
During the 1980's B&A specialized in prototype development for other companies
including the Chester for Commodore Computers in Texas,
Elami for the Re Foundation in Hong Kong, and
several robots for Axlon in California. This phase
culminated with the development of the Samsonite Luggage robot, the Access stair
climbing wheelchair and the General Electric Florbot.
From 1984, B&A embarked on a long term project to develop and autonomous
navigation and guidance system suitable for inexpensive mass produced robots.
This resulted in the ultrasonic parametric mapping technology used in Blinker
(1986), Florbot (1989), Moulinex's d'Entrecasteaux (1991) and the Berkeley
Challenge industrial floor cleaner (1994). Laser versions appeared in the
Trident and Quadra floor cleaning robots in 1996.
Products in other markets including security robotics, television camera
robotics, materials handling robots and research robots were also developed and
released through the late 1980's. These include the Sentry, Roboped, RoboScrub
and UTV-200. These robots are fully autonomous and applications specific.
RoboScrub is manufactured by Windsor Industries in Denver Colorado under
license. In education the Fander series including Maxifander and Hobbybot 2 were
released in 1995.
Expansion to agricultural robots resulted in prototype walking robots for
forestry and rubber latex harvesting in plantations. Several of our smart
sensors are now available off the shelf including the LaserNav and Rotosonar,
and our autonomous navigation and guidance systems are available as packages
such as Lasermap and Paramap, suitable for most mobile platforms
Current activity involves the integration of walking technology to the MRV6
research robot, and a strawberry harvesting robot.
DBI believes it is the oldest continuously active mobile robotics company with
more products, prototypes, and projects than any other robotics company. Total
sales are in the 10,000's of robots for direct sales including products sold by
our contracting clients. For example around 10,000 Elamies were sold in
Australasia in 1984.
All of the products are still available and serviced through the Australian