ITU researchers launch robot spin-out
A new, user-friendly robot has the potential to revolutionize workflows in laboratories worldwide. The driving force behind the invention is ITU-researcher Kasper Støy, who will commercialize the idea in a new spin-out company.
Written May 17, 2016 8:00 AM by Vibeke Arildsen
It is no secret that robots are changing many aspects of our lives. Now, a new liquid handling robot developed by researchers at the IT University of Copenhagen is set to change work processes in laboratories by making it easy to automate repetitive and physically demanding tasks.
The invention has led to the establishment of the spin-out company Flow Robotics. The company has just been launched with a total investment of more than DKK 2,000,000 from a group of investors, including ITU Business Development. This is the first major investment for ITU Business Development, which was launched in the autumn of 2014 to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology between the IT University of Copenhagen and the business community.
A human-friendly robot
The new robot will be able to perform pipetting tasks in for example the pharmaceutical industry in a faster and more flexible manner than existing products on the market, says Associate Professor at ITU Kasper Støy, who is CEO of the new company.
- The robots used for pipetting today are both expensive and difficult to operate. What is new about this robot is that we very much focus on user-friendliness. The technological development enables us to create systems that are much more human-friendly than previously, says Kasper Støy.
Having co-founded the successful robotics company Universal Robots, which was sold to the American company Teradyne for DKK 1.9 billion in 2015, Kasper Støy is an experienced player in the robot industry.
Must be able to cooperate
The liquid handling robot will primarily be used in research and development laboratories where robots must be able perform changing tasks.
Kasper Støy emphasizes that his invention will not make human hands superfluous, but rather will function as a flexible partner in the laboratories.
- Our vision is that robots must be able to cooperate with people and not just automate processes. You might compare it to the shift from DOS to Windows in the computer world – from only experts being able to operate computers to ordinary people being able to perform complicated tasks. We want to set off a similar process in laboratories.
Big market potential
During the startup-phase, ITU Business Development will act as a co-owner and partner for Flow Robotics. Director Kristine Helen Falgren is looking forward to the cooperation.
- Kasper Støy has experience from another successful spin-out company, a clear vision for his company, and is surrounded by a good team. At the same time, all the latest reports show a gap in the market. Many companies could automate many more processes using robots, so the market potential is huge, she says.
ITU Vice Chancellor Mads Tofte is also pleased with the investment.
- This is a good example of a combination of how good IT research and an entrepreneurial spirit can lead to the creation of groundbreaking technologies, he says.
Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kasper Støy, Professor, phone 7218 5368, email email@example.com
Kristine Helen Falgren, Director, email firstname.lastname@example.org