A robotics breakthrough to achieve higher manufacturing productivity and lower costs and an nuclear fusion energy breakthrough both seem to emerging before 2020. The key breakthroughs could be in hand in 2-4 years and then a race to commercialize and deploy.
Heartland Robotics Inc., the manufacturing-focused robotics company founded by iRobot Corp. (Nasdaq: IRBT) co-founder Rodney Brooks, has taken in $12 million from three investors, and is aggressively hiring engineers, the Cambridge-based startup announced Monday.
Heartland currently has 17 employees, and plans to hire about 10 more — mostly engineers — in the next few months, said company president Patrick Sobalvarro. The company is working toward an implementation with some of about two dozen design partners in the manufacturing industry, he said.
Unlike the “point-to-point” robots currently used in auto manufacturing, Heartland is focused on deploying intelligent robots into the manufacturing environment, Sobalvarro said. “Everything that we’re doing revolves around increasing productivity,” he said. “That’s absolutely what manufacturers need to look for in industrialized countries where the worker is highly skilled.”
Heartland Robotics, based in Cambridge, Mass., will focus on the manufacture of industrial worker robots.
“I want to effect a powerful evolution in the world’s labor markets, and my current focus is to develop low-cost robots that will empower American workers,” Brooks said in a statement released on his personal Web site.
Rodney Brooks new work talks about “I want to effect a powerful evolution in the world’s labor markets, and my current focus is to develop low-cost robots that will empower American workers” which is the same as Heartland Robotics. The new work is focused on the Obrero robot.
Obrero is a humanoid robot especialized in sensitive manipulation: manipulation that is as much about perception as action and is intrinsically responsive to the properties of the object being manipulated; manipulation that does not rely on vision as the main sensor but as a complement.
This work is being done by Eduardo Torres-Jara and supervised by Prof. Rodney A. Brooks.
Faysal Sohail of CMEA Ventures believes recent technological breakthroughs have made service robotics viable for domestic application, especially in the areas of home security, vision and sensory robotics, elder care, and lawn care.