Bio-Bugs Press Release


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Advanced “Nervous Networks” Technology Creates
Next Generation of “Intelligent Toys”

NEW YORK – February 12, 2001 – The WowWee Toy division of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) today introduced the first toy line to incorporate advanced “nervous network” technology. New B.I.O. Bugs (Bio-mechanical Integrated Organisms), the hit of last month’s Hong Kong Toy Fair, are robotic bugs that can autonomously act by themselves, come and go as they please, identify friend or foe and have the ability to avoid or climb over obstacles in their path.

“B.I.O. Bugs is the most innovative product I’ve seen all year,” says Mike Normann, buyer at Toys ‘R Us. “Its advanced technology will enable the line to grow every year.”

‘Nervous network’ technology was developed ten years ago and is used by the U.S. government to create robotic living creatures. ‘Nervous net’ is to a body what a spine is to an organism, serving to connect functions together.
B.I.O. Bugs marks the first time that the technology will be used in a toy. ‘Nervous networks’ takes your basic toy bug to the next level and enables B.I.O. Bugs to mimic real insect behavior. They give kids the power to play with other bugs, other toys and unsuspecting humans.

B.I.O. Bugs will react to outside stimuli – a wall, another B.I.O. Bug, even your foot – and change or modify its behavior accordingly. Will it turn right or left, move forward, climb or retreat? B.I.O. Bugs are always in motion and determine what they want to do. Just like real bugs, Bio Bugs are unpredictable.

“B.I.O. Bugs decide what they want to do because they are just like real bugs only without the tissue, with a battery as a heart and ‘nervous network’ technology acting as its brain,” says Peter Yanofsky, president of WowWee Toys.


Left to their own devices, B.I.O. Bugs first instinct is to survive – at all cost. B.I.O. Bugs adapt to surprising changes in situations and environment. However, if you don’t want to let your B.I.O. Bugs act autonomously, you can control their action with a wrist transmitter. Special ‘follow me’ technology even enables them to follow you around.

There are four different B.I.O. Bugs species. Each one is a different color – red, blue, green or yellow – and comes with its own transmitter. Color is key in this “21st century eco-system” because it defines the specific characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of each bug. For example, a green B.I.O. Bug has the ability to operate over rough terrain while a yellow bug moves quickest over smooth surfaces.

To keep their strength and power, B.I.O. Bugs have to occasionally ‘feed’. To do so, they return to their transmitter which acts as a feeding station, homing beacon and manual control. And, they can ‘snack’ off any household item which emits infrared technology like a TV remote or florescent lighting. So, if you’re watching TV and go to change the channel with the remote, any B.I.O. Bug in the vicinity will follow the source and move toward you. Imagine mom in the kitchen using the microwave finding her swarmed by a herd of Bio Bugs!

Ages: 6 years and up
Approximate Retail Price: $ 39.99
Availability: September 2001

Hasbro (NYSE: HAS) is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, SUPER SOAKER, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.