The eight companies who won the competition to join the Robotics Mission.
- Agilic Ltd
- Aura Tech Engineering Ltd
- Maplebird Ltd
- Reach Robotics
- Sebastian Conran Associates
- Shadow Robot Company
Agilic is a robotics start-up, established in December 2014 and based at The Bristol Robotics Lab incubator.
Agilic has two initial products, the TiddlyBot and the Pibot. The TiddlyBot is a fun and simple robot with drawing and following capacities. The products are developed to be low cost thereby opening up robotics and programming to new audiences. The PiBot is a more capable robot that enables anyone to build, program, and customise their own personal robot. Both the PiBot and TiddlyBot are designed to work with the Raspberry Pi, a low cost, credit-card sized computer that has gained worldwide adoption both in education and the general public. The Raspberry Pi was launched in 2008 and within two years it had sold over two million units. Agilic’s robots enable people of all ages to explore computing and robotics in a fun and engaging way.
The TSB Robotics and Autonomous Systems Mission is an excellent networking and knowledge-
acquisition opportunity for Agilic, particularly as it coincides with the launch of PiBot.
Advanced Unmanned Robotics & Automation TECHnology (AuraTech) was founded in 2012 and operates out of the Tees Valley in the North of England. AuraTech offers engineering and design consultancy services for remote technology applications, and is currently working on a Remote Operate Aerial Endurance Vehical (ROAEV).
Developed in house at AuraTech, the ROAEV has vertical take-off and landing capability and can endure flight times in excess of 12 hours – a radical increase in comparison to current available systems. This innovative technology has potential to lay the foundations for stationary low altitude surveillance, observation and sensory monitoring.
To support the development of the ROAEV, AuraTech has also recently launched a remote aerial inspection services division called BlewVue. BlewVue carries out remote aerial inspection, surveying and photography services for residential, commercial and industrial plant applications including offshore installations.
The TSB Robotics and Autonomous Systems Mission is a great opportunity for AuraTech to understand more about the US market and identify potential partners and customers.
D-RisQ was founded in May 2012 and is based in Malvern, Worcestershire. With a mission to “change the way the world develops software”, D-RisQ produces advanced analysis tools that identify security or safety issues in new software products. These tools save time and money by checking the code and design elements of new software from the very beginning of the process, highlighting where a design has not been captured or implemented correctly. D-RisQ is now applying these tools to the robotics industry to help robot designers and manufacturers efficiently develop software.
The D-RisQ technology is based on thirty years of experience in the UK Defence sector and is now being further developed to meet the needs of commercial systems developers. The robust and reliable tools can be applied across all industries, including those where software issues can have severe consequences such as Aerospace, Defence, Nuclear Power and Robotics. As an example, D-
RisQ solutions have previously ensured the safety of the security systems used in UK military aircraft.
MapleBird’s mission is to develop the smallest Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the world, based on a patented engine that is designed to power flapping wing flight. Maplebird’s technology is unique because it has solved the significant issues of insect-scale flight and created high performance vehicles with seamlessly integrated sensing and control systems. One of the key features of the UAV is its ability to cope with windy conditions – the basis of this solution takes its inspiration from one of nature’s best poor weather fliers: the honey bee.
MapleBird’s technology enables a range of small devices to be used across a broad market spectrum such as UAVs for civilian services, agricultural pollination, industrial plant inspection and personal drones controlled through a smart phone. MapleBird’s technology would not have been possible even a few years ago. The company is taking advantage of the latest chips from smart phones combined with sophisticated physics modelling to enhance the design process and cutting edge fabrication techniques such as 3D printing in metal.
TSB’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Mission is an invaluable opportunity for MapleBird to identify partnership opportunities in the USA while also gaining exposure to advanced UAV strategies and designs.
Q-Bot was set up in 2012 with the objective of using robotics and advanced manufacturing techniques to revolutionise the building and construction industry. With a focus on improving energy efficiency in buildings, Q-Bot provides real, scalable and cost effective solutions to reduce CO2 and enable affordable warmth.
Q-Bot is developing a robotics platform that can cost effectively survey, assess and apply treatments to existing buildings, without the cost and disruption of current insulation methods. Insulating the floor with Q-Bot gets rid of cold draughts, makes cold floors warmer and lags hot water pipes, as well as saving an estimated £200 – £400/year in lower energy bills for a typical home.
The company is based in Wandsworth, SW London and currently employs 6 people in addition to the management team – a mixture of electrical, mechanical and software engineers. The company is funded by EcoMachines and through a combination of government grants, private investment and sales revenue.
Reach Robotics is a robotics entertainment company based at the Bristol Robotics Lab incubator. Reach founder, Silas Adekunle, is a 3rd year robotics undergraduate at the University of the West of England and has recruited a team of mechanical and manufacturing engineers, product designers, app developers and robotics engineers to develop MechaMonsters – a four-legged robot that can interact with its owners and other Mecha Monsters. MechaMonsters are tailor-able robotic pets, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Their aim is to battle each other and the more you play with them, the stronger they become. As they develop you have the option to customize them both physically and virtually through the use of additional armour and weapons. The robots also enable dynamic game play scenarios to happen in real life where the controller for the robot is an app on a smart phone. MechaMonsters also have an autonomous artificial intelligence mode – an exciting development for a robotic toy.
Reach is also collaborating with Bristol based animation company Rumpus Animation to develop further materials based around MechaMonsters in order to engage with the children’s toy market in 2015.
Originally founded in 1986, Sebastian Conran Associates (SCA) is an award winning London-based industrial design & development studio / workshop that focuses on transforming science & technology into culture by integrating technology into commercial lifestyle products, including digital wearables, healthcare technology and autonomous robotic experiences in the home.
Products currently under development include ‘MiRo’, a Mimetic Robotic companion due to launch in September 2014, which is a teachable ‘digital pet’.
Another design is ‘INTALÉ’, a product that is best described as ‘intelligent’ furniture, which responds to the environment and to human interaction. At proof of concept stage it is best described as a programmable magic table that will come when called and navigate itself autonomously around its environment, whether the home or hospital. Among other things it aims to enhance peoples’ experience of later life through increasing their independence.
SCA’s ultimate goal is to unlock the IP in Britain’s leading Universities and produce unforgettable products and user experiences that are contemporary, innovative and satisfying. Sebastian Conran has a background in design advocacy and lecturing and is currently designer in residence at University of Sheffield Science Faculty. He works closely with the Technology Strategy Board on early stage integration of design into technology.
Shadow was founded in 1987 and is based in London. The Shadow team develops cutting edge robot components and systems that sell globally, with customers including NASA, ESA, Qualcomm, Carnegie-Mellon, and several Japanese universities. The Company’s key product is the Dexterous Hand, which gives robots the same capability and flexibility as the human hand with 20 degrees of freedom and over 100 sensors in a package the same size as a human hand.
Shadow’s broad expertise in robotics and autonomous systems allows them to engage in unique projects, helping their clients solve difficult problems by creating bespoke systems or combining existing technologies. Shadow has been engaged with the Robot Operating System (ROS) framework since its first public release, using it for the development of its manipulation and grasping software stacks.
Shadow engineers take research technologies and turn them into real-world products. For example, RoNeX was spun-out of a medical robotics research project, and makes building complex, powerful ROS robots simpler and quicker.
The TSB Robotics and Autonomous Systems Mission is a great opportunity for Shadow to strengthen relationships with US robotics firms and identify partnership opportunities to further develop its products.