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Texas Innovator Fall 2008

The In
Crowd

Innovations and innovators come in all forms. In each issue of Texas Innovator, The In Crowd will help bring you a little closer to some of Texas' brightest innovators, their perspective on why Texas is ideal for new approaches and even tips on fueling the creative mind inside us all.

Matthew Fisher
KumoTek Robotics Inc. – Founder and CTO

Matthew Fisher

Launching a business requires imagination, planning and flexibility.

“A business plan is paramount,” says Matthew Fisher, founder and chief technical officer at KumoTek Robotics. “If you can’t put it on paper, you’ll have a hard time convincing others.”

And Fisher says that plan must be flexible, to adapt to whatever environmental, political or social factors influence a business’s primary function: meeting customer needs.

“You want to build something that people will buy and is not easily duplicated,” says Fisher. “And you must be ready to service and address the needs of the customers.”

Fisher launched KumoTek Robotics in 2004. Previously, he had a career as a U.S. Navy satellite communications technician and then studied international business marketing and Japanese at the University of Richmond.

KumoTek’s mission is focused on three main areas: education-, entertainment- and service-based robotics, and the company is seeking educational partners to help develop a curriculum.

“On the education side, our newest robot, the KumoTek-X, is designed to teach the fundamentals of robotics in a fun and easy-to-follow manner, while getting kids interested in unique areas of robotics design and programming,” says Fisher. “Hopefully we can plant some seeds in today’s youth that will help generate more engineers and robot engineers down the road.”

On the entertainment side, ARTI, a KumoTek-designed robot, welcomes visitors to the Intel museum in Santa Clara, Calif. ARTI interacts with visitors through embedded cameras, speakers and microphones.

“In ARTI, we made a very simple yet powerful medium for entertainment and education,” Fisher says. “These could be effective tools for communicating specific messages to people while even opening the doors to a new medium of interactive advertising and entertainment.”

Application-specific robotics design and development are yet another area of expertise at KumoTek. The company has a prototype of a backpack-sized robot it developed with a military explosive ordinance disposal unit in Iraq. The unit clears mines and other explosives. The first units could be in the field within six months.

After graduating from Richmond, Fisher, a native Texan, thought coming home was only natural.

“Texas was an easy choice,” he says. “It may sound cheesy, but Texans have a natural camaraderie.”

With its top-flight universities, research facilities and manufacturing might, Texas is the perfect place to start a company and develop existing and emerging technologies, Fisher says.

“We have every major artery feeding in and out of Texas,” he says. “We have the gulf, airports, interstates and railways, and it only makes sense for industry to start here and grow out from here. We need to promote Texas as the focal point of emerging technologies.”

For more information, contact Matthew Fisher, mfisher@kumotek.com, (972) 664-9263, or visit www.kumotek.com.

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