July 31, 2003

VIA, SRI Put Linux-based Robots to the Test at LinuxWorld Expo

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

Taipei, Taiwan, 1 August 2003 - 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

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? 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

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: www.viaarena.com/?PageID%4. For more information on the full range of
VIA EPIA M-Series Mini-ITX mainboards, please visit:

About SRI International
SRI International (www.sri.com) 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 www.ai.sri.com/centibots.

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. www.via.com.tw

Click Here!