Hello Andromeda - Companion robots for future friendships
We are thrilled to back Grace Brown from Andromeda, the brainchild behind Abi - Humanoid robot
Andromeda Robotics is a robotics startup on a mission to tackle loneliness and forge new friendships with AI human-robot Abi.
In a groundbreaking move towards redefining the future of social robotics, Andromeda Robotics, a Melbourne-based startup led by Grace Brown, has initiated trials of its AI humanoid companion robot, Abi after securing over $500K in pre-seed funding led by Galileo.
Partnering with aged care provider Allity, this trial marks a significant milestone in developing robotic companionship for the elderly.
Dorm-room project turn VC-backed company
Grace Brown's journey from a dorm room project to leading a VC-backed tech company is a testament to passion and resilience.
Inspired by inspired by Disney’s Big Hero 6, healthcare robot Baymax, Andromeda's creation, Abi, started as a student project in the challenging times of late 2020. Abi's development was catalysed by Grace's quest to build a personal companion.
The project gained momentum as a team of students from the Melbourne Space Program joined forces to bring Abi to life.
To overcome the initial challenge of expensive hardware development, Andromeda utilised simulations on university computer lab screens for the first eight months.
The project reached a turning point came when Grace Brown received Vogue Australia's Future Innovators Award in 2021, providing a $10,000 cash prize that propelled Abi from simulation to a walking, talking prototype.
This recognition marked a crucial step in Andromeda's evolution, showcasing the transformative power of dedication and innovation.
Incorporating play and emotion
What sets Abi apart is its childlike, caring, and compassionate nature.
Departing from the conventional notion of productivity-focused robots, Abi aims to elicit emotional responses similar to characters in movies with AI.
Recent advancements in AI technology embedded in newer-generation robots offer the potential for even stronger social connections with humans. Generative AI, exemplified by ChatGPT, empowers robots to engage in spontaneous conversations.
This fosters stronger social connections with humans than earlier generations of robots.
To further enhance Abi's emotional expression, Andromeda has enlisted previous DreamWorks Animation Director, Haggai Goldfarb - a global social robotics expert, and original Shrek animator on concept design.
Tackling isolation and labor shortages head-on
The world's aging population is on the rise, surpassing available caregivers and leading to a significant increase in elderly individuals living alone.
In countries like Japan, almost one-third of the population aged 65 and over contributes to this trend. The United States is expected to have 26% of its population aged 65 or older by 2050, with global numbers set to grow due to continuous medical advancements.
This demographic shift results in a labor shortage impacting aged-care jobs worldwide, notably in Australia.
Caretakers face challenges, including high turnover rates due to low pay and frequent work-related injuries from patient lifting.
A significant 69% of physicians believe that social robots can provide companionship, alleviate isolation, and potentially enhance patients' mental well-being.
This reflects a growing trend where AI-powered robots are leveraged to support and care for the elderly, addressing the labor shortage crisis in aged-care homes. Andromeda's trials with Allity will play a vital role in gathering essential data for Abi's ongoing evolution.
Looking beyond aged care, Andromeda envisions Abi as a companion for diverse demographics, including teenagers with disabilities and participants in educational technology programs.
The potential of technology to provide social support and address critical issues in caregiving is at the forefront of innovation.
Unleashing the magic and revolutionising human interaction with robots
Leading a team of inspired and passionate engineers, Grace Browns’ vision is to create companion robots that are not just smart and functional, but also warm and empathetic.
Inspired by the imaginative world of Disney and Pixar, Andromeda is creating robots with personalities as unique as their human counterparts.
These robots will form deep emotional connections with children in hospitals and aged-care residents, brightening their days and bringing joy to their lives.
Andromeda’s mission is to bring happiness and hope to those who need it most through the power of social companion robots.
Big vision inspiring action
Grace first caught our attention through the Vogue Australia's Future Innovators Award. As she dedicated herself to building Abi, we closely followed her remarkable journey.
It was in our initial conversations that Grace's grand vision for Andromeda captivated us.
Her ambition and dedication were evident, from turning a passion project into a tangible prototype to securing numerous customer interviews and LOIs with leading aged-care homes.
Collaborating closely with Andromeda, we've witnessed Grace's ability to inspire her team, fostering a company culture that embraces both playfulness and hard work. She affectionately refers to Andromeda as the 'Disneyland for robotics engineers,' a testament to the creativity and dedication that defines the company.
We've also seen her attract top-tier robotics advisors, further solidifying Andromeda's position as a pioneering force in the industry.
The TLDR; Tell me in a meme:
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