Robotics startup catches the eye of the Dragons

Chang Liu, Founder & CEO, Extend Robotics successfully won an offer on BBC’s Dragons' Den for his human-robot interface software.

Extend Robotics was founded in 2019 and uses Extended Reality technology (MR/VR/AR) to enable non-robotic experts to operate robots from remote locations.

At the heart of Extend Robotics' ethos lies a commitment to enhancing human-robot interaction. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, the company focuses on developing robotic arms that are not only precise and reliable but also user-friendly, ensuring a smooth integration into various industry workflows. Whether it's for intricate tasks in hazardous environments or performing delicate operations in inaccessible areas, Extend Robotics' solutions are engineered to provide a high level of control and dexterity.

The key innovation of Extend Robotics lies in its integration of virtual reality (VR) technology with robotic systems. This approach allows operators to control the robotic arms in a more intuitive and direct manner, as if they were their own limbs. The use of VR interfaces facilitates a more natural and precise control over the robots, making complex tasks more manageable from a distance.

The robotic arms developed by Extend Robotics are noted for their precision and reliability. These arms are designed to replicate human dexterity, allowing for a wide range of movements and tasks. This technology is particularly useful in sectors where safety or accessibility is a concern, such as in handling hazardous materials, performing inspections in hard-to-reach areas, or carrying out precise operations in medical settings.

The startup appeared on Episode 1 of the new season of Dragons' Den. After a few touch and go moments, Chang Liu managed to show the Dragons a complicated demonstration of his VR control software that allows remote operation of robot arms. This is normally something with a huge range of potential applications in fields like industrial, nuclear, and surgical sectors. But on the day, it was used it to pour a beer.

The presentation emphasised the significant challenges that humanity is expected to encounter in the future, notably labour shortages stemming from ageing populations. It outlined how technology like that developed by Extend Robotics could offer solutions. This approach, somewhat atypical for the show, proved to be highly effective. So much so that Extend Robotics secured an investment offer of £150,000 from Peter Jones.