There is no way around it–robots have become an integral part of our lives and will become increasingly so. We use robots in our factories and warehouses, at our fast food counters, in our grocery stores, and even in the surgical theatres of our hospitals. As with any technology, there are always those big-hearted folks who are on a mission to make a positive impact on the world and their fellow man.
These ten companies are doing just that–making a positive difference in the world with the help of robotic technologies to benefit everything and everyone from the elderly to the environment.
Robot Springboard is a nonprofit that focuses on peer-to-peer learning. They bring robotics education to communities that may not otherwise have access to such opportunities as well as educate people about how to start their own robotics clubs. Through their P2P model, everyone engages in learning activities. Through them, our youth learn the skills needed to make it in an increasingly roboticized world, all the while having fun.
Open Bionics is most famous for their bionic hands for kids. Rather than try to make flesh-toned prosthetics to help kids blend in, they make ultra-cool bionics that let kids stand out and be proud of their prosthesis.
They are the creators of the Iron Man hand, the Star Wars lightsaber hand, and the Snowflake hand that is reminiscent of Elsa from Frozen. These pictures speak for themselves:
As Blue Frog Robotics points out, nearly 90% of people over 65 would prefer to retain their independence and stay in their own homes, but loneliness and isolation from friends and family can decrease their lifespan. Their robot, Buddy, helps aging people retain their independence for longer while maintaining a safe and healthy life. Because Buddy is also interactive, this robot helps curb sensations of isolation both in its own interactions and by making Facetime and Skype easily accessible. The robot can also detect falls and offer medication reminders.
IBM is widely known in the technology sector, and they are putting their name to good use with their Pepper Robot. The Pepper Robot can perceive human emotions and adapt accordingly. This is especially helpful when it comes to elderly people who often suffer from feeling isolated from friends, family, and other human connections. As Business Insider points out, this technology is capable of helping aging generations maintain health and independence as well. Especially as human lifespans lengthen, our robotic companions could, quite literally, be lifesavers.
Origami Robotics is the creator of Romibo, another robot with social capabilities, but that is designed for a different segment of people – young learners. Romibo is a fuzzy, socially interactive robot that can deliver prompts and praise as well as help children develop and practice social skills.
The robot is perfect for teachers, therapists, applied behavior analysts, and more. Romibo also provides great benefits for children with autism, because the robot is approachable and predictable, and many children for more confident and prepared to socialize with Romibo even if they are not yet ready or interested in interacting with other people.
Boston Dynamics is the creator of Atlas which they claim is the “world’s most dynamic humanoid.” As Mic points out, Atlas can be used for humanitarian relief in places that humans cannot safely go, because the bot is able to handle rough terrain and even drive a utility vehicle. The Atlas robot is created using 3D printing to create a durable, lightweight robot which also has stereo and LIDAR vision. Atlas can even get up on its own if it is tipped over and can carry large payloads for its size which comes in around 1.5 meters.
As robots become increasingly vital to manufacturing and other major industries, we have, in times past, seen a staggering amount of waste as technology advances.
However, RobotWorx is helping to put a stop to robotic waste by repurposing old robots as well as integrating them with updated parts and functionality. In this way, they are preserving the environment while also bringing cost effective robotic solutions to businesses who need them. Anyone interested in offering robotic parts for recycling can check their page here.
Roboteam is the creator of robots that save lives. Often deployed in combat situations, their tactical ground robots work to gather intelligence and provide certainty to those in the field. They offer several durable models and support clients such as the United States Air Force and the Italian Army.
Responsible Robotics is helping to ensure we are making the correct, responsible decisions when developing robots for the future. To ensure humanity’s survival alongside our creations in terms of both robots and artificial intelligence, it is important that we trek forward in a calculated and responsible way to create ethically-sound robots who we can live with in unison.
Responsible Robotics is helping to create the policies and standards we need as a species as we begin to integrate robots into our daily lives. They also hold seminars for such topics as “Drones for Humanitarian Aid.”
Stanford + NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab
While not necessarily a company in the way we normally think of the word, both Stanford and NASA have been working together to create a space robot that can help clean up our orbit. This is vital as space travel becomes a more common practice.
Too much debris in our orbit can set off a chain reaction called the “Kessler Syndrome” which can cause other satellites and space debris to continuously crash into one another, causing substantial damage and potentially making it unsafe for us to venture outside of our atmosphere. Using gecko-like grippers, their robot can help clean up space debris in zero-gravity where adhesives and other methods of grabbing are ineffective. You can read more about this gecko space cleanup robot here.