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VIA and SRI Team Up on Unique Centibot Search & Rescue Mission at LinuxWorld 2003

TAIPEI, Taiwan--July 31, 2003-- LinuxWorld's Taste of Linux Theatre to be transformed into an obstacle course to showcase the advanced navigation and mapping capabilities of VIA EPIA Mini-ITX mainboard based SRI robots

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, and SRI International, an independent U.S. research institute, today announced a live demonstration of "Centibots", SRI's Linux-based robots, at IDG's LinuxWorld 2003 in San Francisco from August 5-7. In the demonstration, held at the VIA booth 1776 and at the "Taste of Linux Theatre" event at the show held at Moscone Center on August 6, the Centibots will navigate a course to find a hidden Linux penguin doll.

The mapping and tracking Centibots are built from off-the-shelf components, including the highly integrated, ultra compact VIA EPIA M10000 mainboard. SRI's Artificial Intelligence Center, one of the world's major centers of research in artificial intelligence, is using the robots to study distributed robotics. As totally self-contained, untethered entities, these robots can determine their own location and plan their own path, process images they see, make decisions based on a continually expanding knowledge base, and negotiate with other robots when teamwork is required.

"The VIA EPIA M10000 mainboard gives the Centibots the needed amount of computing power and flexibility," said Charles Ortiz, Ph.D., program manager of the Teambotics program at SRI. "The small form factor, power efficiency and rich connectivity enable our robots to be used both as individual entities or when the scalability of a coordinated robot team is needed."

On Wednesday, August 6 at 3:00pm at the LinuxWorld Taste of Linux Theatre, opposite the VIA booth, the robots will be shown a penguin doll and instructed to find this "object of interest" within an obstacle course. Once the penguin has been hidden, a preliminary mapping robot with laser range finders will identify the configuration of the maze, followed by a second wave of tracking robots that search for the penguin while sharing information and communicating with a command center over a wireless network.

"The increasing role of robotics technologies in everyday life is inevitable. Accelerating that process requires a platform that is open to a worldwide community of developers," said Richard Brown, Associate Vice President of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "By making the x86 architecture the foundation for robot development, we are ensuring a quick learning curve for humans and robots alike, maximizing the contribution from the engineering and robot enthusiast communities and advancing projects that drive new levels of robotics innovation."

VIA recently launched its VIA Robotics Initiative in response to the inexorable melding of mechanical robots and the PC architecture that makes possible the performance of many commercial and personal tasks in the home or business based on trained or learned behavior.

About the SRI Centibots

SRI's Centibots project, sponsored by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), endeavors to create a system whereby a team of robots can be sent into an unknown environment, build a map in real time, and deploy itself to search that environment. Ideally suited for areas that are not safe for humans, such as earthquake-damaged buildings or chemical spill sites, the robots can sense environmental details that humans cannot, and can build maps to facilitate searches for people needing to be rescued.

The robots use the VIA EPIA M10000 mainboard, which acts as the eyes and ears of the robot through highly integrated connectivity features, and integrated sonar on the robot's chassis, while the robot's voice is enabled by the VIA Vinyl Six-TRAC audio. The mainboard's renowned low power consumption, cool operating environment and integrated USB 2.0 and Firewire facilitate functions such as localization, map exploration and object tracking using a top-mounted camera.

The robots run the Debian distribution of Linux and use a software control system developed at SRI's Artificial Intelligence Center that was first created as an integrated architecture for robot perception and action. Whether it is the first robot that determines the location of the object, or other robots that approach the object once found, SRI's artificial intelligence system enables them to proceed in unknown or uncertain environments along the most efficient path. An external outdoor antenna and 802.11b wireless card ensure a robust signal range.

About the VIA EPIA M10000 Mini-ITX Mainboard

The VIA EPIA M10000 Mini-ITX mainboard is the second generation 17cm x 17cm platform optimized for today's killer digital video and audio applications, and is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP/ME/2K and a variety of Linux-based operating systems. Featuring the new 1GHz VIA C3(TM) processor that provides greater digital media performance, and the VIA CLE266 chipset with an embedded MPEG-2 decoder and the integrated UniChrome 2D/3D graphics core, the VIA EPIA M10000 platform provides smooth DVD playback and a rich overall entertainment experience.

With the sizeable memory bandwidth of DDR266 SDRAM and the high data transfer speeds of ATA-133, the VIA EPIA M10000 ensures the highest performance levels required of today's most popular digital media and productivity applications. The user's digital media experience is further enhanced by support for 5.1 surround sound, courtesy of the onboard VIA Vinyl Six-TRAC audio. The latest in high-bandwidth connectivity is supported with IEEE 1394 and USB 2.0 connections, as well as S-Video and RCA TV-Out (NTSC & PAL) and 10/100 Fast Ethernet for seamless broadband connectivity. The VIA EPIA M10000 also offers support for the latest LVDS embedded LCD panels, has one PCI slot for expandability options, and is compatible with a full range of Mini-ITX chassis as well as FlexATX and MicroATX enclosures.

The VIA EPIA M10000 Mini-ITX mainboard is available in volume for an estimated retail price of US$199 from VIA's global distribution partners listed on VIA Arena at: For more information on the full range of VIA EPIA M-Series Mini-ITX mainboards, please visit:

About SRI International

SRI International ( is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for more than 55 years. The nonprofit research institute performs contract research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses and nonprofit foundations. SRI's Artificial Intelligence Center is one of the world's major centers of research in artificial intelligence. Founded in 1966, the AIC has been a pioneer and a major contributor to the development of computer capabilities for intelligent behavior in complex situations. For more information about SRI's Centibots program, visit

About VIA Technologies, Inc.

VIA Technologies, Inc. is the foremost fabless supplier of market-leading core logic chipsets, low power x86 processors, advanced connectivity, multimedia, networking and storage silicon, and complete platform solutions that are driving system innovation in the PC and embedded markets. Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, VIA's global network links the high tech centers of the US, Europe and Asia, and its customer base includes the world's top OEMs, motherboard vendors and system integrators. VIA is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE2388) and achieved annual revenues of over US$720 million in 2002.



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