Have you watched the Terminator movie? If not, let me spoil for you some details: there is a group of robots that developed sentience through Skynet and had an awakening that humans need to be terminated. While this may be far from reality (as we hope), the robotics industry is a booming sector in the UK, adding up to 10.3% in the UK GDP in 2030. And Europe, were UK is at, is known to lead industrial automation with the use of robots and artificial intelligence. That is why setting up a robotics laboratory is a great trade today.
We will enumerate 4 notable UK AI and robotics private laboratories, to let you have an idea what innovations they are developing and researching on.
Blue Prism is an international name in the IT industry, specializing in robotics and artificial intelligence. With their robotics laboratory headquartered in Warrington, UK, Blue Prism pioneered a technology known as robotic process automation or RPA application. It is used by many business enterprises such as Pfizer, Coke, and Sony.
Robotic process automation is a software robotics system that takes full control of other applications needed for end-to-end processes. It is like a control center but it is automated. Usually the user inputs his preferences in the RPA and conducts automation to run the entire plantation or business. Best of all, the software is user-friendly.
Founded by James Field in 2012, the London-based LabGenius is into biopharmaceuticals that apply AI and robotics with synthetic biology for discovery and research. The first of its kind, LabGenius is targeted to discover valuable proteins and biological molecules that would one day treat certain diseases, or to solve climate change (well, we hope they do).
They use machine learning with their evolution engine known as EVA, which can perform trillions of DNA sequences, in which a new biological material can be made out of, like bakelite in decades past (though plastic was made using a different method). Currently, their robotics lab experiments have been of use to the aerospace industry and by private militaries.
Founded in 2014 by a team of five, CRM Surgical had one thing in mind: to pioneer groundbreaking surgical methods using robotics and AI. With their Versius technology, it had been made possible. Minimally invasive surgery has been the bread and butter of Versius.
But their vision does not stop there. This prominent company that is based in Cambridge has been open for collaborations and partnerships with institutions and organizations so that access to their advanced medical devices be highly available. They even partnered with the ParalympicsGB Team to use their medical products. They also put great value in the foundational virtues of their company, namely: people focused, ambitious but humble, fair, and responsible.
The Small Robot Company
With a robotics laboratory situated in Wiltshire, The Small Robot Company is into making the agriculture industry high tech and efficient without harming the environment. It has built technologies called per plant intelligence and per plant action, systems that care for crops and soil.
With per plant intelligence, the use of large tractors and other farming equipment is lessened thanks to small robots taking over the task. This means an economic and eco-friendly alternative method to cultivate vegetation. With per plant action, crops are organically grown thanks to the use of robots that monitor and assess crop conditions for them to be in tip-top shape. This replaces the need for herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer which would benefit the environment.
The former technology is available for purchase, while the latter is slated to be released this October 2022.
Some robotics laboratory are actually run by scholars and researchers in educational institutions. Among these are:
Lancaster University’s InfoLab21 is hands down the most notable information & communications technology centre in the UK, with its research laboratory in—you guessed it—Lancaster. They started opening their studies and IT solutions to private sectors in 2005 (headed by Patricia Hewitt). This collaborative effort from scholars, investors, and firms paved the way for business ventures, the society and several funding schemes to support and implement AI and robotics at school, work, in business and in communities.
Intelligent Robotics Laboratory
Located inside the University of Birmingham is the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory (IRLab). Their robotics lab experiments include modelling intelligent systems that make rational and decisive choices. They are keenly developing intelligent agents and have partnered with neuroscientists and psychologists to advance their understanding of how the mind works and how can it be applied to robots.
Bristol Robotics Laboratory
Bristol Robotics Laboratory has been created in partnership with UWE and Bristol University. Because of this, they have the largest robotics research facility and community in the UK. They have 2,700 sqm of robotics playground used for researching, developing, assembling and testing. Their robotics lab experiments include automations, service bots, and bioengineering.
Adaptive Systems Research Group
The University of Hertfordshire has a robotics lab that focuses in creating robots helpful in the healthcare sector. This includes AI robots that helps autistic individuals, the elderly, and those that need physical rehabilitations. Their robotics lab experiments, namely Care-O-bot, iCub, HaptcMASTER, Kaspar, NAO, PHANToM and Sunflower, mainly do therapies for the mentally challenged, the elderly community, and the physically traumatized.
Then, there are the leaders category. These two special mentions are:
Google’s AI Arm, DeepMind, is headquartered in London. For recap, they have developed technologies such as AlphaGo, AlphaFold and AlphaZero. AlphaGo is an AI bot player that has beaten well-known Go players across the globe. AlphaFold is an economic and highly efficient protein folding AI simulation tester. Meanwhile, AlphaZero is a video game bot that is constantly trained to become expert at games with different concepts and mechanics.
Microsoft, the leading computer unit provider in the world, has a robotics laboratory also situated in the UK. Their AI platform have different tools and features that implements cutting-edge artificial intelligence and robotics software, some of which are open-source like Microsoft Azure. Outside of their products and services is their initiative in different areas of social and ecological importance, like funding, grants, and community support.
Artificial intelligence and robotics are interesting fields to delve yourself in. As you become aware of the existing studies and technologies many robotics research laboratories are getting into, you will be amazed and at the same time surprised of how they transformed and changed the way we live and do things.
Thanks to these persevering researchers, dedicated facilities (robotics laboratory), and trustful investors, AI and robotics have come a long way to improve the lives of us, humans, and the environment we live in.