Dyson secretly builds robots

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You probably know Dyson from their vacuum cleaners, or maybe that overpowered dryer you hesitantly stuck your hands in while waiting for a flight. Maybe you have seen their hair dryers or fans. Dyson is a company that develops premium products that move air. Basically, if they don’t suck, they blow.

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The firm recently expanded through a very strange facial air purifier. Demonstrating the product, Dyson tried to talk about some of the research behind it. He offered to take a peek at their labs, giving some insight into the future of products that go well beyond premium vacuum cleaners. It turns out, including robots.

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Today at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Philadelphia, Dyson unveiled “secret robot prototypes” that are part of a broader study it has so far been able to keep under wraps. The presentation included several shots of the arm, which is very similar to smaller industrial models from companies such as ABB.

Image Credits: Dyson

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At first glance, the big difference here is in the attachments. This includes a hand with soft grips that are very similar to a human hand, and of course a vacuum attachment. As the firm points out, robots don’t just appear out of nowhere, but rather a surprising amount of vision processing, AI and autonomy turns into something of a robotic vacuum. But from a purely investment standpoint, it can be much more than just baby steps.

Image Credits: Dyson

I’m always a little wary of these reversals/expansions. Some, like Toyota’s work with TRI, are thoughtful and deliberate, while others, like Samsung’s robotics efforts, seem more ostentatious. As for Dyson, the company has converted an aircraft hangar at Hallavington Airfield, the former RAF base at Chippenham, Wiltshire, in England, which the company acquired back in 2016. It is planned to move about 250 roboticists to the new laboratory.

Image credits: Dyson

In a related press release, the company notes:

Dyson is halfway through the largest recruitment of engineers in its history. This year, two thousand people joined the technology company, of which 50% are engineers, scientists and programmers. Dyson is expanding its robotics ambitions by hiring 250 robotics engineers across disciplines including computer vision, machine learning, sensors and mechatronics and expects to hire 700 more in robotics over the next five years. Master Plan: Build the largest and most advanced robotics center in the UK at Hullavington Airfield and bring this technology into our homes by the end of the decade.

One can hope that soon.


Credit: techcrunch.com /

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