Soft Robotics Raises $20 M to Expand Operations

Soft Robotics Raises $20 M to Expand Operations

While automation was adopted in some industries, many are still lagging behind. Existing robotic technology just does not work for industries such as food and beverage or e-commerce, because of the high-variation/low-volume and the unstructured nature of the tasks. A spin off from the Whitesides Group at Harvard University is aiming to change that perception.

Leveraging patented material science and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, Soft Robotics designs and builds automation solutions and soft robotic gripping systems that can grasp and manipulate items with the same dexterity as the human hand. The air-filled arm can gently pick and arrange fruits and vegetables or sort an inhomogeneous mix of items from a bin. Reportedly, company’s solutions are near wide-scale commercial use.

The breadth of applications is capturing the attention of leading companies from various industries. In an oversubscribed funding round, Soft Robotics raised $20M from prominent investors like Hyperplane Venture Capital, Honeywell Ventures and Yamaha Motor. According to the company, the money will help push Soft Robotics even further into the food and beverage categories, along with a larger presence in retail and logistics applications.

SORTIS View: SORTIS believes this relatively simple technology could be truly transformative to many labour-intensive processes and will be following closely the developments around Soft Robotics.

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