Labrador Systems, an early-stage robotics company, today announced it has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Engelberger Foundation for its pioneering work on a new generation of assistive robots. The grant was created to recognize companies who have made significant progress in the development of service robots. Labrador is the first-ever recipient of the Engelberger Foundation grant due to its groundbreaking efforts to address significant needs among the aging population. Founded in 2017, Labrador has conducted extensive research with seniors including placing its pilot robots in homes beginning in 2021.
The grant will be awarded during a special ceremony Wednesday evening, June 8 at the Automate show in Detroit, MI. Tickets to the award ceremony are still available here. Labrador CEO and co-founder, Mike Dooley, will be discussing advances in assistive robotics on Monday, June 6 at 4:30 pm in the show theater and demonstrating the company's assistive robot at 11:45 am that day in the show's Autonomous Mobile Robots area.
The Labrador™ Retriever, introduced at CES 2022, is a new type of personal robot that empowers individuals to live more independently by providing practical, physical assistance with everyday activities in the home. The Retriever lightens the load for individuals where pain, injury or other health conditions impact their daily activities. It is large enough to carry items such as a laundry basket, but agile enough to navigate the tight spaces of a home. The Retriever also features an innovative retrieval and delivery system to bring items within reach. Users can easily command the Retriever using their smart phone or with their voice through an Alexa-enabled device.
Joseph Engelberger is widely considered the "father of robotics" for inventing the first industrial robot in the United States. The Engelberger Foundation Grant reflects Engelberger's strong belief in the need for robots to assist the elderly and help them age in their homes as long as possible. The Engelberger Foundation actively seeks companies who have made progress in this arena.
"I was so excited to see how Labrador has created a robot that can finally 'fetch and carry' effectively. In all the research I did while visiting client homes, this was the biggest need. Patients would surround themselves with all the things they would need until their next visit from a caretaker, only to be frustrated after forgetting something in another room which they could not access for the rest of the day," said Gay Engelberger, daughter of Joseph Engelberger and board member of the Engelberger Foundation. "Mike and his team are really on to something and we hope this grant helps them continue their progress. Their development of a tray/pallet system is intriguing and quite unique in the home environment, as is their pricing model. I will certainly be watching closely."
"Joseph Engelberger's work set the foundation for our development of the Labrador Retriever, so to be the first recipient of this grant is a huge honor in recognition of our efforts to create a robot that can make a meaningful difference in people's daily lives," said Mike Dooley. "By taking a human-centric approach, we're focused on providing individuals with an easy-to-use tool that can adapt to very complex environments. This is a massively underserved population and we're confident the Retriever can help provide greater independence for millions of individuals."
Labrador Systems is working with a variety of partners, including senior care providers, occupational and physical therapists, health systems, and universities to explore ways its platform can support their mission and extend the impact of caregivers in a number of settings. The company is taking early reservations for its home robots at: http://www.labradorsystems.com, with plans to be in full production by the second half of 2023.