Robotics

56 stories
Robotics startup Jibo raises $25 million, brings on Nuance exec as CEO
Jibo is a $599 countertop robot designed to handle tasks like scheduling and videoconferencing. (Company-supplied photo.)
Steve Chambers says he first heard about the "social robotics" startup Jibo in late 2013, when two friends mentioned the startup to him within two hours on the same day. At the time, Chambers was running worldwide sales, marketing, and business development for Nuance, the publicly held speech recognition company in Burlington. Chambers says he couldn't leave that post immediately, but he joined Jibo's board last September as executive chairman, and helped founder Cynthia Breazeal raise $25 million in new funding. Today, the Weston company is announcing that Chambers, a veteran of both the speech recognition and videoconferencing industries, is joining Jibo as its new CEO. Read More
New funding for maker for manufacturing robots
Rethink Robotics, selling versatile worker bots, raises $27 million more
One of Boston's highest-profile robotics companies announced in a federal filing this week that it has collected almost $27 million in fresh funding. Rethink Robotics sells a two-armed robot called Baxter that can be easily trained to perform a variety of tasks. Rethink's founder is Rodney Brooks, the former MIT professor who co-founded iRobot Corp., and one of its earliest backers was Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. Read More
Robots vs. Humans
Bring it humans: This robot will school you in beer pong
If you're prepping for a house party this New Year's Eve, you might already have picked up your Solo cups, champagne, and beer. But chances are that you won't have the life of the party on hand, because this Boston-based beer pong playing robot is headed to the Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas, where it will take on humanity in a tournament of champions. Read More
Just keep swimming
Navy's 'Silent NEMO' project tests Boston robotic fish for stealth ops
Boston Engineering's 'GhostSwimmer' robot can stealthily navigate cramped spaces. The Navy tested it off Virginia Beach last week.  (Image: US Navy)
A robotic fish called the GhostSwimmer made by Boston Engineering successfully completed a series of maneuvers led by the US Office of Naval Research last week. "I can’t tell you exactly what they wanted us to do," Mark Smithers, chief technology officer at Boston Engineering, said. "We were able to do something that [we weren't] able to do prior [to that] and we did it successfully multiple times." Read More
Clipped wings
iRobot founder Helen Greiner on drones, the FAA, and how to succeed in business without really flying
AR DRone flights
Helen Greiner didn't just put the 'robot' in iRobot. Starting as an 11-year-old who wanted to build R2-D2, she achieved her a dream twice: after co-founding iRobot and ushering it to an IPO in 2005, Greiner left to create a second company, CyPhy Works, that builds flying robots. Greiner spoke at the RoboBusiness conference in Boston last week, and shared her views on some of the challenges facing the commercial drone industry. Chief among them: How do you grow while the Federal Aviation Administration continues to bully you out of the skiesRead More
Brand new bots
Local robotics startups debut at downtown showcase
Soft Robotics is making air-powered stretchy robot fingers whose grasp is not too hard and not too soft. (Image: Soft Robotics)
Two robotics startups from Greater Boston debuted products this week at the RoboBusiness conference and exhibition. Just a year old, Soft Robotics presented its gentle, air-powered versatile robot grippers in public for the first time. For Sonzia, a Somerville firm that incorporated in September, it was a first public demonstration of immersive, interactive environments for children with learning disabilities. Read More