The Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator program looked for companies building the next generation of robotic smart machines that combine mechanics and intelligent controls, computer vision, sensors, navigation, and wireless communication. The program stopped accepting applications in May, and ten lucky finalists made it into the prestigious program. The startup teams are now spending their time in sunny San Diego where the Accelerator is providing technical assistance, guidance and mentorship. Each startup also has access to a $120,000 investment. The Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator is powered by Techstars, which has a global network of mentors with expertise in technology and robotics businesses. They come from a diverse background of businesses, such as SpaceX, iRobot, NASA’s JPL, Clearpath Robotics. At the end of the program, venture capitalists, the press, investors and industry leaders will attend a demo day where these startups will show off what they’ve learned, and how their company has progressed. We will now give you a rundown of the ten companies participating in this program, and the problems which they are aiming to solve.
Engage idle paws.
CleverPet entertains your pet while you’re away. The device develops a unique personality and intelligence suited to your dog’s needs (so it’s never too hard or too easy). It uses a combination of light, sound and touch to interact with your pet, and continuously motivates them with food. Pet owners can connect to the device from a mobile app to track their pet’s progress throughout the day. The food used is no greater than the amount you would normally feed your pet, so no need to worry about having a highly intelligent but obese dog on your hands. The company has already managed to raise $180,000 on Kickstarter.
Now you too can have a workshop like Tony Stark.
With a tagline like that, who wouldn’t want to buy from Carbon Robotics? The team is developing KATIA (Kick Ass Trainable Intelligent Arm) which is a versatile and affordable robotic arm. It is refreshing to see a robotic arm in a startup industry saturated with drones and educational bots. Carbon boasts that KATIA can “transform from a 3D printer to a camera rig in seconds.” The arm can learn from demonstration, which means you can perform a task, and the robot arm will mimic and remember the task. Developers can also augment the arm by programming it through Carbon Robotics’ API using Python and Arduino.
The world’s first gaming robots.
The Reach Robotics Team is made up of engineers and game developers aiming to develop the first gaming robots, Mecha Monsters. Think Rock’em Sock’em Robots but 10x more exciting. The robots are controlled through a mobile app, and users can even develop new tricks using developer software. There are three types of attacks: physical, digital and energy. The bots can be customized by purchasing special shields to protect against the various attack types. Mecha Monsters come with a camera and tracking system. They are about 3.5 in tall and weighs only 1.5 pounds. In the future, the startup would like to explore augmented reality, machine vision and even smart AI (artificial intelligence).
Robots that move everyday items.
Axon, developed by CtrlWorks, uses auto-navigation and obstacle avoidance to move objects weighing up to 1000 kg. This could be exceedingly helpful in hospitals to wheel around patient, in warehouses to move around inventory, or even in the home. The platform is affordable, and no additional infrastructure is required to use it. Users will be able to interact with Axon through an easy-to-use web UI (user interface).
Bringing robots from the factory floor to the shop floor.
The first product from Rational Robotics is the Paint Robot. It is able to apply paint to cars (and other objects) evenly and with factory-like precision. All one needs to do is scan the part, load the paint into the robot, and “push start.”
Long-endurance drone systems for agriculture, search and rescue, and infrastructure inspection.
Skyfront is developing a long-duration drone to aid with the agriculture industry, search and rescue, and infrastructure inspections. The drone is able to survey 1000+ acres on one charge, which is useful for spotting unhealthy crop areas. It uses both visual and infrared cameras for sensing at all times of the day. Using drones to perform these tasks can remove people from danger and speed up rescue missions.
An innovative, advanced and intelligent UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) solution.
The Inova One from Inova Drone is being developed for the public safety industry for first responders, agriculture, inspections, mapping, and security. The drone is reconfigurable for multiple applications, easy to use and intelligent. It can fly for up to 50 minutes on one charge, which is almost twice as much as the average commercial drone, and can carry up to 10 lbs. The drone’s autonomous navigation system is GPS-assisted.
The next step in developing robotic systems.
Robotics hasn’t broken through to the mass market due to technical barriers. A diverse set of skills (electrical, mechanical, software, and embedded systems) is needed to develop a successful robot. SkyRobotics is developing modular tools to be used when creating advanced robotic applications. The system will provide hardware modules (such as sensing, actuation, etc…), and connect them through a network. OPRA (Open Platform for Robotics Applications) aims to provide hardware, firmware and software, which are all of the necessary components of a robot.
Unleash the power of your commercial drone.
As the number of commercial drones being purchased increases, the business of drone accessories is bound to become more popular. Skysense is taking advantage of this by developing the first drone charging station. Their patent-pending charging technology supports nearly all existing multicopters, and is easy to use. There is no need to plug in the drone. Simply land it on the charging pad, and take off when it’s done charging. They will also be selling a Skysense Droneport which is a remotely controlled (through an app) enclosed area for your drone. At the Droneport, the vehicle can also sync to the cloud.
Don’t wait for happiness, get Lucy.
Lucy brings sunlight into your life. She is a solar-powered light source. Lucy’s mirror follows the sun and reflects sunlight into rooms creating a nice natural glow. Research shows that natural light increases serotonin levels making you happier. It is also great for supplying you with Vitamin D and improving bone health, protecting against colds and fighting depression. There is also the added benefit of reducing your carbon footprint. Lucy comes with an app which enables you to track your happiness level, your carbon footprint, and the electricity savings you’ve earned by using Lucy.
Source: Qualcomm Accelerator