Startup Extend Robotics launches VR-controlled robot arm

By William Smith
Reading, United Kingdom-based robotics startup Extend Robotics has announced the launch of a teleoperated robotic arm...

Reading, United Kingdom-based robotics startup Extend Robotics has announced the launch of a teleoperated robotic arm.

The company, which produces robotic hardware for industries including healthcare, services, utilities and electronics, says the Robot Toolkit can be controlled in real-time via virtual reality, allowing for a high level of dexterity and reachability. 

Extend Robotics’ partners include Nvidia, BT, Queen Mary University London, University Hospital Birmingham, Britbots and Innovate UK, with the company hoping to make dextrous teleoperated robotics more accessible by lowering prices of both hardware and control systems.

In a press release, Dr. Chang Liu, the company’s founder and CEO, said: “At Extend Robotics, our vision is to extend human capability beyond physical presence. Our mission is to democratise dexterous teleoperation at scale over the next three years, designing cost-effective robotic arms capable of remote operation from anywhere in the world, using cloud-based teleoperation software.

“Our latest cybernetic bartender robot demo is a great example of an ‘out of the box’ teleoperated robot solution for the service and catering industry. We also plan to develop VR-controlled teleoperated robots featuring highly accurate, smooth and consistent, human-like movements to improve safety conditions and boost efficiencies across a number of other sectors: from agriculture and healthcare through to the utilities and energy industry.”

The company is developing the technology for wider commercial use, with its demonstration highlighting the applicability of the technology to the hospitality industry.

“Right now, as we approach the end of the COVID-19 crisis, we expect to see remote working as ‘the new norm’ across many industries, for numerous health, safety and environmental reasons,” said Liu. “2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for humanity, yet our hope at Extend Robotics is that the recent acceleration in R&D of remote teleoperated working robots will soon result in a wide range of safe, secure and affordable dexterity robot solutions across a number of industries worldwide.”

(Image: Extend Robotics)

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