You probably know Dyson as a vacuum cleaner, or a dryer that is too powerful to put your hand in tentatively while waiting for your flight. You may have seen a hair dryer or a fan. Dyson is a company that develops premium products that move air. Basically, if you don’t wash it, it blows away.
I recently expanded the company with a very odd-faced mounted air purifier. Dyson tried to highlight some of the research behind it when it presented its products. It gave them a sneak peek into their lab and gave them insight into the future of the product far beyond premium vacuums. It turned out to contain robots.
At today’s International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Philadelphia, Dyson unveiled a “secret robot prototype,” which is part of an extensive research it has been closely monitoring. The disclosures include some scenes of a robotic arm that closely resembles small industrial models from companies like ABB.
The seemingly biggest difference is the attachments. These include hands with soft tongs, very similar to human hands, and, of course, vacuum attachments. As the company notes, robotic technology comes from nowhere exactly. An incredible amount of vision processing, AI, and autonomy is being put into applications like robotic vacuums. But from a purely investment standpoint, this may be more than just a baby step.
I’m always a bit wary of these pivots/extensions. Some, such as Toyota and TRI’s work, are thoughtful and thoughtful, while others, such as Samsung’s robotics efforts, appear to be more showy. Dyson revealed in 2016 that it is reassembling an aircraft hangar at Hullavington Airfield, a former RAF base in Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK. About 250 roboticists will be moved to the new lab.
In a related press release, the company notes:
Dyson is running half of its largest engineering recruitment campaign in history. 2,000 people have joined the technology company this year, 50% of whom are engineers, scientists and coders. Dyson is further strengthening its robotics ambitions by hiring 250 robotics engineers across fields such as computer vision, machine learning, sensors and mechatronics, and expects to hire 700 more in robotics over the next five years. I am expecting it. Master Plan: To create the UK’s largest and most advanced robotics center at Hullavington Airfield and bring this technology into our homes by the end of 2010.
Faster, one hope.