OhmniLabs was featured in the Forbes’ article titled: Meet The Hardware Startup That’s Manufacturing Their Telepresence Robots In California.
Robots have begun making their way into our homes, albeit cautiously. Softbank’s Pepper was first created as an empathetic companion for the home, but now mainly exists as a greeter in select retail stores.
So why has the development and adoption of robots for the home been such a slow process?
“For a long time, the promise has been that we’ll soon have general purpose robots in the home that are capable of doing complex tasks such as cleaning, laundry and cooking. But for decades, we’ve only had toy robots, or something very specific – such as Roomba, the vacuum cleaner. So we’re a long way from having the dream become reality,” said Thuc Vu, co-founder of OhmniLabs, makers of a telepresence robot for families.
He thinks that this slow introduction of robots into the home market has to primarily do with the challenges of robotics development. Besides needing expertise from a wide range of backgrounds, including software, mechanical, electrical and production – the process of prototyping and scaling up production is still slow and expensive.
Vu also notes that a high price point for not a whole lot of perceivable gain is a deterrent to most users. “The value that robots are bringing to the end user right now is still less than the cost to develop and to manufacture to the end user. And that’s the reason why we don’t see a wide adoption of robots in the home yet,” he said.
Which is why OhmniLabs is harnessing the power of 3D printing technology and making everything in their California-based lab themselves. Unlike other hardware startups that still rely on going overseas to work with factories in Asia, Ohmni is actually able to keep costs down by producing their robots locally.