In ruling NY N306903, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the country of origin of a programmable robot, the Misty II. The item is a fully customizable robot that is fitted with electric motors for movement. The Misty II features an LCD display, camera, speakers, microphone, internal memory, and a rechargeable battery. The Misty II also incorporates a variety of sensors that allow it to move freely and autonomously throughout its environment by providing obstacle avoidance, bump sensors, and capacitive touch. The robot is powered by multiple system on memory (SOM) processors running a specially designed Android operating system.
The manufacturing process begins in Taiwan where Taiwanese origin bare printed circuit boards are populated with the necessary electrical components to create the three logic printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) that will be incorporated into the robot. All components are placed on the board except for the specially designed SOM chip, which will act as the functional brain of the system. The PCBAs are then shipped to Hong Kong where the SOM is added and programmed with the Android operating system.
Chinese origin plastic molded parts are then imported into Hong Kong along with low level subassemblies, mechanical parts, and electrical components reflecting a variety of origins. The electric motors are of Malaysian origin, and the LCD display, speakers, camera and sensors from China. Then the complex assembly process of the finished robot begins in Hong Kong. The electronic components, including multiple sensors, speakers, a camera, USB connectors, a battery, the charging system, and the above mentioned logic boards are built together with the mechanical parts including the electric motors, heat sinks, and machined fasteners. This electronic and mechanical system is then encased within the body of the robot by assembling the plastic molded parts. The robot is then tested, packaged and shipped to destination.
Based on the information provided, CBP determined that the assembly process in Hong Kong is substantial and complex so as to transform the assembled components into a new and different article with a name, character, and use that is distinct from the exported articles. Though the mechanical, electronic, and plastic molded components are important to the function of the robot, they lose their separate identities and become an integral part of a new article as a result of the assembly process. Therefore, the country of origin of the Misty II programmable robot is Hong Kong.