Touchlab Limited have been announced as the first industry residents to move into the National Robotarium.

The Edinburgh-based start-up robotics company are developing and manufacturing a biomimetic e-skin system that is thinner than human skin and can be used with hard or soft robotics to sense pressure, location and direction in real-time. Their unique nanotechnology enables operators to experience ‘true presence’ through a machine whilst being able to withstand extreme environments and temperatures. It is being applied to solve grand challenges across a vast range of existing and untapped markets, including healthcare, nuclear decommissioning, medicine, automation and space robotics.

As well as officially moving into the National Robotarium, this month also sees the Touchlab team travelling to California to compete in the $10m ANA Avatar XPRIZE finals, a global avatar competition that seeks to develop ‘an Avatar System that transports a human’s senses, actions and presence to a remote location in real time’. The team are only one of 20 to make the finals and only the second UK team to qualify, alongside Sheffield-based Cyberselves, who they’ve joined forces with for the Finals Event on 4-5 November.

CEO of Touchlab, Zaki Hussein, said:

“We are excited to be the first startup in this state-of-the-art facility. It has already accelerated our ability to deliver our ANA Avatar XPRIZE robot, and will help us birth and trial the first ever eldercare robot with full-body touch in a hospital setting early next year.

“The National Robotarium in an invaluable addition to the Edinburgh and wider UK robotics and start-up ecosystem. Alongside the help it provides to companies like mine – providing facilities to produce and test robots that didn’t exist before – it will convince top talent to remain or relocate to Scotland.

Robotarium Manager, Dr Lindsay Wilson, who facilitated Touchlab’s entry to the National Robotarium said:

“We’re thrilled to announce Touchlab as our first official residents at the National Robotarium.

“Our aim is to support the development and testing of robotics, AI and other smart systems to solve global challenges across many different sectors. Touchlab’s innovative sensor technology has the potential to revolutionise physical robotics and we’re excited to see how this incredible company continues to grow and evolve through the use of our high-spec labs and scientific expertise.”