Engineered Arts Takes a Leap Forward with Investment from Empower
We are very excited to announce CEO & Co-founder of, San Francisco giant, AppDirect, Nicolas Desmarais, has invested in Engineered Arts Ltd and joined the board of directors.Desmarais is also the co-founder of the investment firm, Empower Industries. Their mission statement says a lot about Desmarais & the companies he runs. “Empower people to reach their full potential through universal access to information technology, clean energy, start-up capital, physical automation and a humanist method.”. As an ethical robot company, we were thrilled to finally meet an investor that shared our core values, vision and goals. We want to create robots that entertain, inform and interact in a positive, memorable way, to improve peoples lives and cause no harm.
Engineered Arts have been in the service robotics business for 15 years, developing world-leading products focused on entertainment, human interaction and research. The service robotics industry presents difficult challenges in product development, it spans mechanical design, electronic design, embedded software, back end software and GUI development. Putting all this together is a massive integration task.The road to robotopia, is littered with failed companies and products. Just surviving is an achievement, growing whilst remaining profitable is exceptional and required an unconventional business model.We made low volume products for niche applications and avoided the temptation to make a mass market consumer product, we deployed our robots in real-world scenarios, keeping development cycle times short with rapid incremental improvements, the experience drives the development agenda, and we found out quickly what people like, what they don’t, what works and what doesn’t.Contrast this to the typical route of heavy upfront capital investment into an untried product without any established user base or a proven application, with huge a development mountain to climb, it’s not surprising so many robotics companies don’t make it.
Out of the niche
Surviving in a niche is okay, the real potential comes when we start to apply the technologies we have developed over the past 15 years to new application areas with a larger addressable market.So just what have we got?
We built an entire software stack from the ground up, that’s everything from embedded micro-controllers running brush-less motors to robot simulation in a cloud-based graphical application. It encompasses teleoperation with a robot native implementation of WebRTC, remote diagnostics with a full-featured virtual oscilloscope application and content distribution and maintenance via the cloud. The core of our robot OS is called Tritium it’s built upon the Ubuntu Linux distribution, and like the element it’s named after, comprises three core elements:
- Hardware Control – Robots are all about actuators and sensors – lots of them, you need to see them all in one place and configure many thousands of parameters without pain.
- Communications Hub – Integration glue, you need to connect many pieces of software running locally or remotely built on a wide range of technologies and under various licence schemes.
- User Interface – If you can’t visualise this complex system you have no hope of debugging it, a suite of browser-based tools solves the problem.
Robots are not just software, with 15 years of hardware development experience and state of the art in house production facilities Engineered Arts delivers complete solutions. Innovation in actuation, with inherently mechanically compliant designs, novel transmissions and sensor configurations.
As part of our drive for more innovation more quickly, we are looking to expand our team. We’re looking for software developers, mechanical design engineers, 3D artists, embedded software Engineers, and administration roles. If you sound like you could fill any of these roles get in touch.
Keep on Moving
Engineered Arts has been located in its factory in Penryn for well over a decade. It is the birthplace of RoboThespian. The robot that started everything. The robot that sparked countless innovations and has eventually lead us to our, top of the range, Mesmer robots. Over the years, we have innovated and built many wonderful machines that bring joy to a huge number of people across the globe. We’ve employed (and continue to) a diverse and talented group of individuals, who, together, have overcome some hugely complex challenges. All in the pursuit of creating the most entertaining robots in the world. The technology, the people, the manufacturing techniques have all changed throughout the years. But the one thing that has remained constant, is our beloved workshop.
That is until now.
We are moving into totally new premises. Something that is larger, better equipped and truly our own. Our Cornish location is important to us for multiple reasons. Partly, it’s important to be a successful business offering highly skilled and well-paid jobs in an economically challenged area. Secondly, it is somewhat the historical & cultural home of automata.
For this very reason, we are not moving far. A short hop from Penryn to its neighbouring town, Falmouth.
The future is bright
There are many exciting developments to come from Engineered Arts, and we are thrilled we have Nicolas and the experience and resources he brings with him on-board.