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MassRobotics Opens R&D Space In Seaport To Support Industry Startups

By Victor Thomson , Feb 18, 2017 12:58 AM EST
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MassRobotics targets robotics startup with its new R&D center and collaborative working space in Seaport, Boston. (Photo : Boston City TV / YouTube)

Nonprofit organization MassRobotics has announced the opening of a new R&D center and 15,000-square-foot office space in Boston's Seaport District. The move aims to support industry startups that develop various robotics applications from autonomous vehicles to drones.

MassRobotics's New R&D Center

According to The Warren Group, the new MassRobotics center in Seaport is located at the fifth-floor on a building on 12 Channel Street. The facility includes shared workspace for up to 60 people and six private offices with a capacity for 30 employees. In order to build out an additional 25,000 square feet within the 340,000-square-foot building owned by the Industrial Corp. of Boston and Economic Development within the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, the nonprofit organization has launched a fundraising campaign.

The space includes 7,000 square feet of workshops and labs that will be made available for renting to startups. The space also includes 2,000 square feet of shared lab and prototyping space, robotic platforms, 3D printers and a machine shop. MassRobotics announced this week that the initial batch of companies that will take advantage of this offer includes Air Force Research Lab HMSS, Digital Alloys, American Robotics, Square Robots and Hurdler Motors.

The lab is expected to regularly host public education events and industry competitions. Among the sponsors of MassRobotics include Autodesk, Arrow Electronics, Amazon Robotics, Brain Robotics Capital, Cambridge Innovation Center, Deshpande FoundationHarmonic Drive, IDA Ireland, iRobot, Liberty Mutual, Mass Technology Leadership Council, Panasonic, Rethink Robotics, Vecna Technologies, and SolidWorks.

Robots Move From Sci-Fi To Reality

With the new R&D center and collaborative work space, MassRobotics promises to inspire and support robotics startups. In 2016, robots have moved from science fiction into the real world, from drones to self-driving cars and food-delivery bots. Courtesy of NuTonomy, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup, the world's first public self-driving taxi service hit Singapore roads back in August. Amazon delivered its first package by drone in the U.K. Drone delivery service Flirtey partnered with 7-Eleven in order to complete the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer's residence.

According to Venture Beat, the robotic realm also enjoyed an upsurge in investments. For instance, Pittsburgh-based Bossa Nova Robotics raised $14 million to implement its robotic technology in the retailer field. The company's robots can help retailers by collecting data and analyzing stock in order to optimize inventory. Meanwhile, drone delivery startup Zipline closed a $25 million deal to help deliver medical supplies, blood, and vaccines to health workers in hard-to-reach areas.

MassRobotics' R&D center opened in Seaport, Boston, aims to leverage the booming robotics industry that develops around MIT. Tech analysts estimate that this robotics cluster across the state is home to around 150 companies. In a notable deal back in 2013, Massachusetts-based robotics company Boston Dynamics has been acquired by Google.

MassRobotics executive director Thomas Ryden said that the nonprofit organization is excited to be able to offer now the shared workspace designed to support robotics technologies, companies, and the robots they are developing. He added that the building consists of equipment to aid robotics startups to develop their concepts, a laboratory, offices, and a testing facility. According to him, this is a perfect location to help build the country's premier hub of robotics development.

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