RIOS secures $5 million in venture funding, aiming to bring dexterous, AI-powered robots to assembly lines

PALO ALTO, Calif.—A new class of highly dexterous robots is reported to possess true haptic intelligence capabilities that enable them to perform hard-to-automate tasks in unstructured environments. Developed by RIOS, a Stanford University spin-out founded by former Xerox PARC engineers, the robots boast a haptic intelligence platform that combines dedicated hardware, computer vision, and artificial intelligence (AI). This platform is what gives the robots their human-level dexterity, RIOS said in a June release marking the firm’s emergence from stealth mode with the news that it raised $5 million in venture funding.

“We’re building robots of the future—ones that can learn on the job, construct models of the world, and extend these models to perform different tasks in unstructured environments,” said Bernard Casse, CEO and founder of RIOS, in the release. “We’re excited to come out of stealth mode and look forward to deploying our robots on a massive scale across every industry. With a first-of-its-kind haptic intelligence platform combining dedicated hardware, computer vision, and AI, our robots can learn to grasp and handle many types of objects, precisely selecting and assembling parts and performing complex manipulation tasks.”

RIOS (www.rios.ai) develops and deploys AI-powered robots for assembly lines in factories, warehouses, and supply chain operations. Its robot platform consists of an AI-driven perception system (eye), a central AI (brain), and a purpose-built intelligent end-effector (hand) powered by advanced tactile sensors.

The firm’s first product, DX-1, is a full-stack, multi-purpose robot able to perform a broad range of tasks, from pick-and-placement of arbitrary objects to complex component assembly. DX-1 can interact with objects in both static and dynamic applications, such as bin picking and moving conveyor belts.

RIOS’s technology is said to deliver true biomimetic touch in a compact footprint, with thousands of miniature sensors relaying information about pressure, texture, and temperature. The sensor data are processed by embedded processors running RIOS’s proprietary AI algorithms to give the robots human-level dexterity. The company’s robots possess true haptic intelligence capabilities, including optimal grasp, slip detection, surface topography mapping, and texture discrimination, RIOS said in the release.

The $5 million investment was led by Valley Capital Partners (VCP) and Morpheus Ventures, with participation from Grit Ventures, Motus Ventures, MicroVentures, and Alumni Ventures Group. Japanese strategic investors Fuji Corporation and NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd. also contributed to the funding. VCP Managing Partner Steve O’Hara, Morpheus Principal Howard Ko, and Grit Managing Partner Jennifer Gill Roberts have joined RIOS’s board of directors.

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