> SHADOW ROBOT COMPANY
Dexterous. Dependable. Daring.
Dexterous. Dependable. Daring.
We’re Britain’s longest-running, and carbon-negative, robot company! We build next-generation robot hands and teleoperation systems, with everything taking place in-house from design and development to delivery. Our leading robotic technology is custom-made, and we provide gold-standard, long-term service support. We’ve worked with customers such as NASA, ESA, Carnegie Mellon, U.Bielefeld, UCL, OpenAI, GSK and others. We’re here to serve both researchers (university professors, AI researchers, researchers at corporate innovation labs) and industry professionals (those in dangerous, difficult or distant jobs including pharma, nuclear and remote engineering jobs). We’re a highly passionate team with a purpose to create awesome robots that make working lives better along with enabling breakthroughs within robotics research. We have an office in London (our HQ), Bristol (which we’ve newly expanded) and Madrid!
Bloomberg. Shadow Dexterous Hand grasping an egg, photo by Luke MacGregor
Our humble beginnings date back to 1987 when we began as a hobbyist group in our Founder’s (Richard Greenhill) attic
in London. Richard’s wife, Sally, would cook a big pot of spaghetti and we’d work through the night with full bellies and the enthusiasm to create cool robots!
We had fun making Europe’s first walking robot (Honda created the world’s first biped called Asimo) and we soon turned our focus on one of the most complex mechanisms of nature, the hand!
We based our Humanoid Hand on the dimensions of a human hand. It was made from maple wood which we got from a skip at a local kitchen furniture maker. The first thing our humanoid hand picked up was a pint of beer (smooth sided, thin-walled glass). No other robot hand could do that for a long time after. In homage, we still celebrate our milestones with a drink or two.
I guess you could say we accidentally became a business after a company contacted us with a purchase enquiry which sparked the idea of becoming a business and being able to sell things properly. So in 1997, we formally registered as the Shadow Robot Company and over two decades later, we’ve created a string of world firsts and become pioneers in the fast-evolving fields of telerobotics.
Our flagship product, the Shadow Dexterous Hand, is the world’s most human-like robot hand and the ONLY robot hand on the market to have 24 movements and 20 DOF for increased flexibility in grasping and manipulating a range of objects. It’s also our most-loved item by researchers across the globe.
Her Majesty. The Queen visits the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) stand at The International Festival for Business 2016
We also created the world’s first haptic telerobot hand allowing you to transmit touch and complete tasks in real-time across the globe without physically being there. It protects workers in dangerous, difficult, or distant jobs with 0% risk to their safety while giving them complete operational control over the system. We’ve already started to pioneer real-world applications of this technology by selling several Tactile Telerobots, particularly in Japan. We’ve also sold the telerobot to a multinational tech company in the USA (within the top 20 if we were to go by revenue) in a new marketplace around remote maintenance.
When it comes to research projects, our most recent work is with Pfizer around telerobots in aseptic manufacturing, and we look forward to sharing some preliminary results soon.
If we look at what we are globally going through right now, it’s become evident that our tech is needed within pharma labs and remote maintenance via teleoperation. We shouldn’t fall into complacency and assume COVID-19 is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge, there probably will be additional phases to this pandemic, and there will be new pandemics in the future.
If we look ahead, with further development, our technology could be deployed below ground level (deep sea) and high above the skies (space missions). We’re also gaining a lot more interest in the role that artificial intelligence can play in our innovation. By utilising telerobots, we can train AIs to be able to do a specific task autonomously.
Let’s just say the future for robotics is bright and if Bristol is looking for futuristic yet functional robots, you know where to find us!