The Histroy of WowWee's past.
WowWee Ltd. is a privately held, Hong Kong-based company founded by Richard and Peter Yanofsky. Initially from Canada, the two brothers moved to Hong Kong to form the company in 1982 as an independent research & development and manufacturing outfit. As an OEM seller, they produced products such as the Power Rangers Power Gloves and the Talking Tots dolls. In 1987 the company changed focus, building and marketing toys under their own brand in response to a fall in OEM orders. They produced a number of new products, including a robotic dog (MegaByte), T-Rex, and the Animaltronics and Dinotronics lines of remote control animals. In 1998 the company was purchased by Hasbro.
Shortly before the Hasbro sale, Peter Yanofsky reportedly caught physicist/roboticist Mark Tilden on the Discovery Channel, and soon hired him as a consultant. Initially Tilden worked part time with WowWee while he continued his work with the Los Alamos National Laboratory , but in 2001 Tilden joined the company full time. One of his first products with WowWee was the B.I.O. Bug, released in 2001. Unfortunately, while sales were good they weren't as strong as either WowWee or Hasbro would have liked. In part this has been attributed to the after-effects of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, while Tilden has also expressed disappointment with some of the limitations placed on the product design by Hasbro. After moving to WowWee full time in 2001, Tilden focused his attention on developing Robosapien.
While Tilden was developing Robosapien, Hasbro canceled the project several times, leading Yanofsky to negotiate out of the contract in 2003. Robosapien was released in 2004, and over 1.5 million were reportedly sold in the first 5 months of sale. Tilden continued to develop the line with the Robosapien V2 (2005), Roboreptile (2006), the RS Media (2006) and the RoboQuad (2007).
In 2007, working with inventor Sean Frawley, WowWee released the FlyTech Dragonfly - a remote control flying ornithopter. The Dragonfly was named as one of the inventions of the year by Time in 2007. The success of the Dragonfly led to other flying toys, such as the Bladestar (a remote controlled helicopter) and the Butterfly (a wind-up ornithopter aimed at younger children).
On September 27, 2007, the publicly-traded Optimal Group announced they had entered into a purchase agreement to acquire WowWee Ltd, which they completed in November of that year.