Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on advanced robotics solutions. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we want to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 5 promising soft robotics startups.
Heat Map: 5 Top Soft Robotics Startups
For our 5 top picks, we used a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 interesting examples out of 69 relevant solutions. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
Soft Robot Tech (SRT) – Electronic Assembly
The use of robots for the assembly and packaging of finished electronic components, such as mobile phones and circuit boards, often leaves undesirable scratches on the products. This necessitates human workers thereby increases costs. Soft robotics enables robots to undertake this job by replicating the dexterity of human touch in handling the products.
The China-based startup Soft Robot Tech offers soft robotics-based gripping fixtures. The fixtures assist in handling products across various industries, such as consumer electronics (esp. mobile phones), cosmetics, jewelry, and food. Their soft grippers minimize scratches on surfaces as compared to rigid, metal grippers.
SpectroPlast – Silicon 3D Printing
A major obstacle in the development of soft robots is the lack of surfaces that mimic the soft touch of human skin. Silicon is a popular choice of material to develop soft-touch surfaces, mainly due to its flexibility and amenability to 3D printing. It also offers geometrical freedom of design and involves fast iteration cycles.
The Swiss startup SpectroPlast prints silicon-based solutions for different applications. They use stereolithography and additive manufacturing to create silicon products of different stiffness. Other than soft robotics, they also make products for medical parts and industrial components.
iCobots – Food Packaging
Packaging food items such as eggs, fruits, and chocolates usually requires manual labor. However, the continuous picking and packing of produce alter their natural texture. Soft robotics solutions combine the speed of robots with the soft touch of human workers and find applications in handling delicate food items.
The Israel-based startup iCobots offers plug-and-play solutions for soft robots. Their solutions integrate with existing robots to bring the power of soft robotics to them. Their collaborative robots handle different products in multiple industries, particularly agriculture.
Squishy Robotics – Disaster Rescue
Generally, the first few hours are critical for search and rescue in the aftermath of a disaster. However, it often takes time for first responders to reach the site. Debris also often limits their ability to effectively search before heavy machinery clears the site. Soft robots possess a flexible structure that enables the first responders to reach under the debris and, moreover, the robots are easily deployed using drones.
Squishy Robotics is a US-based startup that develops mobile sensing robots for disaster rescue. Their robots are rapidly deployable, even as swarms, and highly collaborative in terms of interacting with rescue personnel. Their compliant and shape-shifting design allows them to reach spaces that are inaccessible to human first responders. The robots are equipped with sensors that transmit visual, audio, chemical, and biological information.
Somnox – Robot-Assisted Healthcare
Robots guide patients through repetitive tasks in robot-assisted healthcare. This promotes rehabilitation from injury and encourages a particular behavior, such as addiction recovery or improved compliance to therapy. Soft robotics combines rigid actuators or exoskeletons with soft and compliant parts that mimic human actions and transforms robot-assisted care.
Somnox is a Dutch startup that offers a soft robotics innovation solution to improve the quality of sleep. Their sleep robot aids people with circadian rhythm disorders in falling asleep faster and for longer. It simulates breathing patterns, plays relaxing sounds, and comforts sleepers as an alternative to addictive sleeping pills.
What About The Other 64 Solutions?
While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence for your Proof of Concept (PoC), partnership, or investment targets. The 5 soft robotics startups showcased above are promising examples out of 69 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria and collaboration strategy, get in touch.