Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving advancement in robotics and automation. Globally and in the UK, AI has gone through periods of development and periods of relative stagnation. However, in the longer run, the advances in symbolic programming enabled a greater understanding of high-level problem-solving intelligence, with special progress in tools and techniques to stimulate or support complex expert reasoning. If we look at the developments in the UK, researchers are building autonomous robots that will use AI to identify and fix potholes in UK roads. Further, a £22.4 million worth National Robotarium is set to open in Edinburgh in 2022. Today, we look at some of the most revolutionary robot tech startups shaping the future of robotics engineering in London. We tried to pick companies across the size spectrum from cutting-edge startups to established brands.
The Moley Kitchen is a fully automated kitchen unit, consisting of cabinets, robotic arms and hands, a recipe recording system, a connected GUI screen with access to a library of recipes, and a full set of kitchen appliances and equipment that have been optimized for both for robot and human use. The Moley Robotic Kitchen allows you to save time, free up your day from routine cooking, plan and adapt your menu according to different diets and lifestyles, enjoy international cuisine anytime, control calories, and get cooking tips and recipes from chefs around the world. Not only does the robot cook complete meals, but it also tells you when ingredients need replacing, suggests dishes based on the items you have in stock, learns what you like, and even cleans up surfaces after itself. The robotic apparatus comprises two highly complex robotic hands and different types of sensors that are integrated in a high-precise and lightweight frame structure. Moley’s anthropomorphic robotic hands are developed and produced in collaboration with our exclusive hand partner SCHUNK — the world market leader for gripping systems and clamping technology. They can replicate the movements of a human hand, while the robotic chef can recreate the skills of human chefs such as learning new recipes.
Open Bionics designs a low-cost robotic prosthetic hand using 3D printing. This robotic hand called ‘Hello Arm’ senses muscle contractions and expansions, understands muscle movements’ variations, and performs the task much like a normal hand. It is a low-cost and lightweight robotic hand and can give Iron Man-style arms to amputees. In 2019, Open Bionics bagged nearly £4.3 million Series A funding from investors including Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund, joined by Ananda Impact Ventures and Downing Ventures.
Shadow Robots builds next-generation robot hands and systems with the advanced skills to help solve challenging problems and to provide a meaningful purpose. They introduced the new Tactile Telerobot, the world’s first haptic telerobot hand, designed for advanced teleoperation and telepresence. It is designed to make dangerous, difficult, and distant jobs easier and safer with 0% task to workers. This robot requires little training, making it a game-changer for industry and research.
Recycleye, based out of London is an intelligent waste management startup. The company wants to solve the most serious problem in this century. In 2019, Recycleye secured £1.2 million in seed funding. The funding round was led by MMC Ventures and Playfair Capital along with participation from leading funds including Atypical Ventures and Creator Fund. It also received funds from Innovate UK and the European Union to develop a computer vision system with robotics to recover useful materials from waste. Recycleye Robotics performs the physical tasks of picking and placing waste materials in an automating manual operation, delivering up to 33,000 picks per 10-hour shift.
Automata, another robotics startup from London developed a desktop robotic arm called Eva. It is a smaller, easier, and cheaper robot arm than its counterparts. The company has brought in many innovations, including rebuilding the gearbox that runs the machine and the software called Choreograph that controls it. In 2019, Automata raised nearly £6.4 million Series A funding from Hummingbird Ventures alongside first-minute Capital, Hardware Club, LocalGlobe, ABB, and Entrepreneur First. It was focused on the expansion of Automata’s team and ramping up the production of Eva.
LabGenius is a biopharmaceutical company developing protein therapeutics using a machine learning-driven evolution engine. Its protein engineering platform integrates several bleeding-edge technologies from the fields of machine learning, synthetic biology, and robotics. By combining robotic automation, synthetic biology, and advanced machine learning, LabGenius run the full design-build-test-learn cycle to help direct our search for novel therapeutic antibodies.
AI Build is a London-based company developing artificial intelligence and robotic technologies for large-scale additive manufacturing. AI Build believe additive manufacturing is the core technology for achieving a sustainable environment and a highly efficient on-demand economy. AI Build’s purpose is to empower factories of the future to make Manufacturing easy, smart, sustainable, and affordable. The company’s current and future market strategy extends these capabilities to sophisticated automated reporting for business intelligence and finance operations.
Oxbotica is a startup that develops autonomous vehicle software. It addresses the hot issue of developing technology that will enable machines to navigate, understand, and act in their specific environments. The company also enables machines to explore, understand, and act robustly in their specialized settings. Company engineers are dedicated to creating autonomous vehicle control systems, self-driving vehicles, and fleet management solutions using computer vision and machine learning approaches.
Karakuri is a robotics startup in London with a focus on revolutionizing food prep and the restaurant kitchen. The company developed the world’s first fully customizable food preparation system that combines robotics, automation, and machine learning. The main idea behind Karakuri is to reduce food waste, improve food choice and quality, boost staff well-being, and enable healthier eating. Karakuri is gradually paving the way to a world where freshly made, healthy food is as convenient as fast food.
Appii is a London-based firm that uses blockchain technology to perform employee background checks and CV verification. Job searchers can create profiles with verified credentials, highlighting qualifications and other personal information. These credentials are validated in a completely secure manner with businesses and educational institutions.
Even though people usually associate VR with gaming, this technology is making significant contributions to the healthcare industry. FundamentalVR developed a leading medical education platform for surgery. The Fundamental Surgery platform delivers VR haptic “flight simulators,” creating a safe, measurable, and repeatable space for surgeons to refine their skills.