Grishin Invests $250,000 in Double Robotics’ Telepresence Platform

Double Robotics' iPad telepresence robot gets some backing from a big investment firm

2 min read
Grishin Invests $250,000 in Double Robotics’ Telepresence Platform

Looks like Double Robotics and their elegantly simple iPad-based telepresence platform has caught the eye of Grishin Robotics, that new robocentric investment firm looking for ways to blow $25 million on robotics startups. Double is getting a quarter million bucks to help them scale up their manufacturing in exchange for, um, something that neither party seems to want to mention, but we've got the rest of the details for you after the jump.

Here's the extent of the information currently available:

 

 
Double Robotics already has $1.2 million (600 units) in pre-orders (in one month since the launch), from 44 countries around the world. Customers include 24 universities, as well as 17 Fortune 500 companies. Since the first production run of Double has already sold out, the investment from Grishin Robotics will be spent primarily on scaling manufacturing, as well as hiringand further product development. 
 
According to ABI research data, worldwide telepresence market is going to reach $13.1 billion by the end of 2016. Current customers of Double Robotics are using the product for teleconferencing, security surveillance, real estate and museum tours, healthcare, presentation purposes and many others. Telepresence is considered by industry experts as one of the most promising and will drive the personal robotics market growth into the mainstream.
 
“Investment in Double Robotics perfectly fits our strategy”, said Dmitry Grishin, founder of Grishin Robotics. “It is a consumer-oriented product with potential to fit a broad range of applications and has already generated strong consumer demand. It’s also important that the price of the product makes it accessible to the wide audience. In addition, the team has creative approach to design and is keen to build user-friendly products - both are very important focus areas for next-generation personal robotics companies. Double Robotics is well positioned to leverage the unique potential of the prominent telepresence robotics market. We have a great belief in Double Robotics team and its product.”
 
”We are thrilled to have Grishin Robotics and Dmitry Grishin, in particular, as our largest investor to date,” said David Cann, Co-founder of Double Robotics.  “We read about the new investment firm and Dmitry’s experience in the field of robotics in June 2012 when the fund was announced.  The timing was perfect, as we were just beginning the Y Combinator program with our prototype robot.  After our public launch in August, we met with Grishin Robotics and were immediately impressed with their mission and deep knowledge of the robotics industry’s past mistakes and potential future.  We look forward to working with Grishin Robotics in the years to come as we build our business.”

 

Yeah, so everybody's very happy and nobody wants to provide much in the way of additional info or details. Welcome to the world of the press release! Our guess is that Grishin got a piece of Double in exchange for that $250k, since that's what investment companies tend to do. But, we're curious as to how big of a piece that is, since that would give us a clue as to what Grishin thinks Double is worth, and how optimistic investors are when it comes to telepresence. We know from experience: telepresence is tough to do well, and there have been more than a few companies who have tried, and are trying still, without tremendous success. Will Double be able to break through and make telepresence the Next Big Thing for robots? We're not sure, but Grishin is apparently willing to bet on it.

[ Double Robotics ]

[ Grishin Robotics ]

The Conversation (0)

How the U.S. Army Is Turning Robots Into Team Players

Engineers battle the limits of deep learning for battlefield bots

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

“I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.”

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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