Grabit, a 2012 SRI International spin-off, secures $3 million in Series A funding from ABB Technology Ventures, Nike and Formation 8, a tech VC in Silicon Valley.
UPDATED: October 6, 2013
Small and medium shops and factories (SMEs) are an untapped marketplace for robotics but direly in need of automation to remain competitive in this global economy. Two new start up companies: Rethink Robotics and Universal Robots have entered that marketplace. Both companies have U.S. sales in the hundreds of units; Universal has a head start internationally and has sold about 3,000 to-date, but Rethink is way ahead in the US. Both have similar 60-100/mo manufacturing run rates – so the future looks bright for selling flexible, lightweight, low-cost robots that are easily programmed, safe for humans to work alongside, don’t require a caged or roped off area, and perform at affordable metrics.
This robot is being developed to automate the management of laboratory animal colonies used by pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, primarily those that raise from 10,000 to 30,000 mice or rats. It’s currently under development by Nikkyo Technos and Yaskawa Electric.
“The biggest problem in raising animals is that diseases can spread from people to the animals. If that happens, all the animals have to be killed and replaced with new ones. So, infection by people must be prevented. By managing animals using robots in an enclosed space, it’s basically possible to eliminate the spread of diseases from animals to people or from people to animals.”
The Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI) invites the robotics community to upgrade and to develop a technical catalog of robotic technologies to move and investigate inside nuclear reactor buildings, namely 1) a flight technology to enable access to the top floor of the nuclear reactor building and 2) a technology to move around and conduct investigations under water in a flooded reactor building.
ESA is organizing the first robotic competition on a mock-up of the International Space Station (ISS). The competition is open for young people from ESA member states who can compete in three age groups between 11 and 19 years old. The regulations leave a lot of room for innovation and creative freedom, practically only safety requirements are imposed.
Application deadline :15 March
Development phase : 4–12 April
Finalist down-selection phase : Beginning May
Competition event : Mid-October