Dull, dirty and/or dangerous jobs are less than appealing for many people.
One way to have them done is through short or longer-term immigration.
There are a couple of options for fruit farm owners to use tech, such as soft fruit packaging company Driscoll’s investment and partnership with vertical farms developer Plenty’s $140m series D round last week.
But another is a bipedal robot that could be used for deliveries, in factories or, eventually, picking. But getting a robot to balance, walk or even run on two legs is hard, which is why researchers at Oregon State University have spent a few decades on it. The university’s spinout, Agility Robotics, has, as the name suggests, pretty agile robots – called Digit – with relatively low power needs to move its legs rather than using hydraulics, according to Andrew Maywah, investment director at TDK Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of Japan-based industrial technology company TDK.
The combination of two legs with lower power consumption allows Digit to work for seven or eight hour shifts rather than 30 minutes at different types of tasks than say Spot the dog from Boston Robotics. Nicolas Sauvage, managing director at TDK Ventures, pictured, said: “Digit can be deployed for Fortune 500 customers in real world situations today to do real work.”
TDK Ventures joined with Sony Innovation Fund and Industrial Technology Investment Corporation (ITIC), the Taiwan-based venture unit of nonprofit R&D body Industrial Technology Research Institute, and VCs to fund Agility’s latest $20m round.
It is a powerful consortium of investors, given TDK’s expertise in batteries and advanced materials, Sony’s existing robot and electronics businesses and ITIC’s 25,000 patents in robotics and advanced materials.
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