We often get the question, “What is your relationship with OhmniLabs?” To answer this question, we are going to take a “deep dive” into what OhmniLabs is, why it was created, and how it relates to the Kambria Platform. As we prepare to launch additional functionality for our platform, we will cover in great detail the relationship we have with our corporate sponsor, OhmniLabs, what technologies will be available on Kambria’s Open Innovation Platform, and how our two companies are working together to solve common challenges to bring value through robotics and AI to the world.
What is OhmniLabs?
Founded in 2015 by the same founders as Kambria — Dr. Thuc Vu, Jared Go, and Tingxi Tan — OhmniLabs was created under the premise that in order to accelerate the adoption of consumer robotics, a new kind of company was needed. Former classmates and friends, the founders have a deep understanding of the robotics innovation process.
Being far away from home themselves, they recognized the need for affordable robotics. The vision for OhmniLabs aimed to not only bring people closer together, but to provide access for students, non-profits, small enterprise, and institutions to disruptive technologies to improve their daily lives. And they have achieved just that. The evolution of OhmniLabs since that time is astounding, evolving from their patented telepresence platform to include a variety of modular robotics and components to create an entire ecosystem of robots.
Ohmni Telepresence Robot
Telepresence robots are mobile robotic platforms that feature videoconferencing, and allow the user to maneuver throughout its environment. This effectively embodies the user inside the robot, without them actually having to be there. Over the last four years, OhmniLabs has managed to create twelve generations of telepresence robots, with each iteration building upon and improving from the previous generation.
By utilizing their lean, tool-less manufacturing process, OhmniLabs’ veteran engineers are able to print a robot in less than one day, making their prototyping process among the fastest in the world. By keeping design and manufacturing costs at the lowest possible rate, they are able to pass these savings on to their customers which allows their telepresence robots to be accessible to a greater number of people. Ohmni Robots feature a 10.1” screen, high-resolution cameras, a moveable “head,” self-docking, a long-life battery, and two-way video and audio communication. Among the most affordable telepresence robots available, Ohmni lets you be anywhere in the world, with just one click. Also available is the upgraded “Ohmni Supercam,” which has the highest resolution camera of any telepresence robot available today.
You can find both of OhmniLabs’ signature telepresence robots on the OhmniLabs Store.
The Ohmni Telepresence Platform includes a line of standalone and modular robotics components that truly pave the way for a new kind of robotics ecosystem, with a primary focus not just on quality, but also affordability and accessibility.
Ohmni Developer Edition
Beginning with the Ohmni Developer Edition, OhmniLabs created a highly open and modifiable devkit, allowing developers to start robotics development within minutes. Driven by feedback from real users, the devkit was created by customer demand, many with the same question: “Are you able to customize Ohmni to suit my needs?” The answer is now, “Yes.” While there is massive interest from enterprise companies to create robots, an overwhelming majority did not want to have to completely develop their solutions from scratch and “reinvent the wheel.” By creating the world’s first open development robotic devkit, OhmniLabs truly set itself apart from siloed robotics manufacturers, with an open invitation to developers across the world to build on Ohmni for less than $2,000.
In addition to the Ohmni Developer Edition , OhmniLabs offers the recently announced Ohmni Cobot, a standalone robotic arm with modular attachments. OhmniLabs is launching a line of robots designed to bring value to everyday life, including researchers, students, and enterprise companies. By allowing its customers to customize and tailor the products to suit their needs, affordable robotics is no longer limited to just vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers.
Recently, OhmniLabs unveiled the second generation of Ohmni Cobot, which will be available to the public at a later date. Made with an ultralight liquid crystal polymer cable drive and custom brushless motor controllers, the Ohmni Cobot project is focused on making the absolute lightest arms with human-scale payload capabilities. Powered by OhmniLabs’ proprietary telepresence cloud technology, the arms can be teleoperated and trained for automated tasks from anywhere in the world, opening the door for future applications where humans can perform dangerous and heavy duty tasks from a distance.
OhmniLabs has also participated in various social and educational programs to not only create awareness about their robots, but also impact lives, especially that of students and the chronically ill.
In 2018, OhmniLabs began working with the non-profit, MissingSchool, to bring robots into the classroom and provide fair access to homebound children who were unable to make it to school for long periods of time. By providing the social structure and ability to “visit” the classroom, MissingSchool has been able to help children stay on track with their education and help them feel an integral part of the education system and their peers. They assist in real-time learning, allowing them to participate in the classroom as if they were physically there.
Also assisting in real-time learning, Ohmni is used at STEM Academy of Lewisville, where students utilize the Ohmni robot in many aspects of their education. Using the Ohmni Supercam robot, the academy nurtures budding cosmonauts and scientists by bringing astronauts and other experts directly into their classroom using the telepresence platform. Because of OhmniLabs’ painless integration, NASA engineers are able to quickly connect and interact with students, allowing experts to navigate throughout the room, collaborate, and work with individuals and small groups in a manner than standard video chat could never replicate.
Bringing Robotics to the Mainstream
Shortly after bringing their low-cost, high value, robots to the market, companies began to reach out to OhmniLabs’ founders to discover how they could replicate or take advantage of their ultra-lean, and fast manufacturing process. Having their hands full already, OhmniLabs quickly set out to improve their process further, and optimize the business to include robotics development and robotics-as-a-service offerings.
Using their direct knowledge and experience, OhmniLabs began to overcome existing bottlenecks and jumpstart a revolution in robotics development. To demonstrate this, they began right away working with large enterprise companies to design and manufacture custom robots.
Most recently, OhmniLabs and All Nippon Airlines debuted the “newme” concept to the world at CEATEC 2019 in Tokyo Japan. Unveiled at Japan’s largest technology conference, “newme” is a testament tot how effective OhmniLabs’ agile design and manufacturing services are. In just six months, the two companies were able to collaborate and build a fully functional telerobot, with the ability to serve ANA customers with cutting edge Avatars across the globe.
Why Kambria Was Born
Despite the massive growth of OhmniLabs over the last four years, the team also recognized that the robotics space is slated to grow to 500 billion dollars by the year of 2025, and to truly bring about lasting and meaningful impact on a global scale, we would all stand to benefit from collaboration. This is how the idea for Kambria came to fruition.
Currently, most robots are created in silos, and information is not shared between companies. Secrets are closely kept, and rather than working together on solutions, it’s been a robotic arms race (pun intended) to the top. While significant progress has been made, smaller companies have been left out of the “race” due to the enormous cost and difficulty of development.
Having seen the remarkable efficiency of open source software, the team set out to create an open collaborative ecosystem to create hardware like software, where developers and companies can collaborate and work together to solve problems that benefit all of humanity as a whole.
By allowing the community at large to contribute to the innovation process, companies are able to quickly build custom applications without having to employ teams of PhDs and the millions of dollars in R&D costs. End users can enjoy a higher quality of life potentially afforded by more available robotics products and services.
Through Kambria’s Open Innovation platform, every contribution can now easily be shared, manufactured, prototyped, and implemented — crossing all social and geographical boundaries, and allowing anyone, from anywhere, to effortlessly join the next wave of innovation. A combination of reduced costs, cutting edge technologies, and swift delivery, will spur rapid adoption of the Kambria platform by companies, developers, and manufacturers. This cycle of innovation is paving the way for the next wave of robots to provide immense value for people across the world.
If you would like to learn more about OhmniLabs, please visit their blog. Be sure to also follow us on social media, as we will be releasing blogs over the next few months that will break down every aspect of what technologies will soon become available on Kambria that provide developers a starting point in which they can develop and innovate on top of, saving our global pool of developers and companies potentially millions of dollars in research costs and countless hours of labor so they can focus on building the next killer app. #DreamItMakeIt.