Media & Blog

The Importance of Low-Cost Robotics

Tuesday December 17, 2019

Over the past decade, robots have traveled from fiction into our daily lives. Many companies now manufacture robots to solve problems, help humans, facilitate production, enhance healthcare, and other purposes. While the adoption of robotics is increasing, most products remain out of reach for the average consumer due to the high cost. Robotics can make our lives simpler and better, but only if they are affordable. This article discusses the importance of low-cost robotics to both the consumer and companies.

The State of Consumer Robotics

Robotics have taken a crucial role in enhancing our lifestyles and automating many roles that previously required human interventions. But in order to best serve their purpose, robotics need to be affordable so that the people who need them can use them. Yes, robotic arms can be found on many assembly lines, from manufacturing automobiles to preparing meals. Due to increased computing power and advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), industrial robots can be programmed and given complex reasoning ability. More recently, robots have employed sensors to interact with the real world to handle a wide range of tasks.

Although robots have succeeded in finding their place in manufacturing, they have not yet been widely adopted in the home. After more than half a century of research, progress has been slow in making affordable robots that can address our everyday needs in the home. Traditional development processes used by robotics companies result in high-cost production, which is not effective for the everyday consumer market. Only robots programmed to do very simple household tasks, such as vacuuming or mowing, have been able to capitalize on the small profit margins resulting from consumer products. Highly-functional robots such as Honda’s ASIMO and Toyota’s Human Support Robot are limited to research facilities due to their expensive price tags.

Benefits of Low-Cost Robotics to Consumers

While industrial robotics has flourished, consumer robotics lacks the same level of advancement. Why is this important? Robots can improve the quality of life for everyone but they need to be affordable by everyone. For example, we’ve seen growing interest in assisted living robots for seniors to help decrease isolation, improve socialization and calm anxious behaviors. And one researcher is developing a robot that helps disable people better navigate buildings and transportation hubs based on their needs. What would elderly care and special assistance look like if robots were more affordable? What about education? When robots are more affordable, more people can access the support and attention they need

Benefits of Low-Cost Robotics for Companies

Yes, the benefits of low-cost robotics for consumers is undeniable. But what about the benefits to the company doing the development? Why is low-cost just as important to them? Using a revolutionary low-cost approach means companies can experiment with new robotics services. It’s ok to “think outside the bot” when the cost is low; there’s more room for the imagination and rapid innovation. 

In addition, low-cost robotics development supports a more efficient value chain. When the cost to develop and manufacture a product is efficient, the company will be able to provide a superior product. The result is a competitive advantage that is difficult to duplicate. Moreover, if the value offered to the customer exceeds the cost of creating that value, a company will be able to reap higher profits developing low-cost robotics. If your company’s goal is to improve the lives of your customers and to quickly gain mass adoption, then a low-cost solution is important.

Affordable Consumer Robotics from OhmniLabs

But in order for consumers to take full advantage of robotics, companies interested in robotics must figure out a way to get a significant boost in productivity through simple and cost-effective robotics components. OhmniLabs has made a concerted effort to produce low-cost robots for mass adoption. Its Supercam telepresence robot sells for a much lower price compared ($2195) to other companies enabling startups and entrepreneurs to acquire them in a cost-effective manner.

OhmniLabs Ohmni robot low-cost robotics

Ohmni Supercam telepresence robot

For instance, telepresence robots from Double Robotics sell for $3,999 for the standard set. The Beam from Suitable Technologies Inc. comes runs about $2,140 on TelepresenceRobots. If you want to buy the upgraded Beam+ or Beam Enhanced, you have to spend at least $4,000. The Amy A1, a customizable telepresence robot, sells for $7,299. These higher prices impede the widespread use of robots in our daily lives. 

Developing Affordable Custom Robotics with OhmniLabs

For cost-conscious developers, OhmniLabs is a unique robotics development solution. Unlike most manufacturers, OhmniLabs provides end-to-end robotics development services using our hardware and software expertise. Having built the affordable Ohmni robot for many years, we are familiar with low-cost production. 

On purpose, our design is modular, which gives clients a lot of flexibility and decreased development cost. Clients can choose to reuse designs or create customized design elements for their projects based on our modular components.

Due to our use of additive manufacturing (3D printing), OhmniLabs can produce robots at 5-10 times lower cost than traditional injection molding methods. Plus, 3D printing allows us to quickly and efficiently change a design endless times until the client is satisfied. 

Our custom development process also saves our customers valuable time. And, as they say, “time is money.” We recently engineered and manufactured the “newme” robot for ANA, Japan’s largest airline, in less than one year. This development speed is unprecedented in the custom robotics industry and allowed ANA to move full-speed ahead in bringing its mission to life. 

newme robot created by OhmniLabs for ANA. Source: ANA Holdings

newme robot created by OhmniLabs for ANA. Source: ANA Holdings

Summary

Fortunately, many manufacturers are finding ways to reduce the cost of their robots through improved production techniques. Affordable prices will also encourage more research and experimentation, paving the way for improved technologies and capabilities in the future. Low-cost robotics will usher in a more inclusive world where everyone can use robotics to make their lives simpler, easier, and better! As robot density grows and adoption increases, we can expect prices to go down further. 

To learn more about our custom robotics development services, contact us. And to purchase your own affordable telepresence robot, click here