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AI-powered Humanoid Robots Soon to Enter the Consumer Market

By Mihaela Lica Butler | January 12, 2024

1X, an AI and robotics company developing androids that address global labour needs, announced it had secured $100 million in Series B funding, backed by prominent investors including EQT Ventures, Samsung NEXT, Skagerak Capital, and Nistad group.

1X intends to utilize the funds to bolster its current enterprise clientele and introduce its novel bipedal android "NEO" to the consumer market. The company also intends to expand its data gathering and training approach for embodied AI.

We are thrilled that these leading investors are supporting 1X's mission of safely deploying androids with smart behavior into new markets. Our next milestone will be scaling our data collection strategy for Embodied AI and offering NEO to consumers.

Bernt Øivind Børnich, CEO of 1X

NEO, a bipedal android designed to look and move like a human, is tailored for the consumer market. Its purpose is to provide everyday home assistance, catering to domestic needs such as cleaning, organizing, and running errands.

NEO offers essential household support, including tasks such as tidying and organizing. Additionally, 1X explores how NEO can assist individuals facing mobility challenges, such as retrieving items and offering companionship. The potential of NEO also extends to contributing to research endeavors, aiding the robotics community in fields like as psychology and artificial intelligence.

NEO's Features in a Nutshell

NEO has a secure, well-balanced, and intelligent design.

  • NEO's functionality allows for seamless remote control by a human operator, providing immediate assistance when required.
  • NEO's physical structure is crafted with a biomimetic muscle-like anatomy, ensuring robust yet gentle interactions.
  • NEO exhibits a natural gait, capable of walking, jogging, and effortlessly traversing staircases, seamlessly adapting to any environment.
  • With each movement and task performed, NEO continuously enhances its efficiency, becoming an effective and adaptable companion.

NEO is still under development as it is meticulously crafted to serve as a versatile android personal assistant that integrates into the fabric of its owner's daily routines. This entails NEO's capacity to adeptly manage routine responsibilities and errands, simplifying the user's life experience.

The learning models developed by 1X integrate artificial intelligence with advanced human-like robotics, enabling NEO to perform a wide array of tasks proficiently. As an additional pair of hands, NEO is particularly beneficial in scenarios requiring assistance, notably for older people or individuals with limited mobility. As NEO navigates its surroundings, it continuously learns and enhances its capabilities, progressively adapting to more intricate responsibilities.

Other Humanoid Robots

Many humanoid robots are in use in many countries, with Asia leading the market. 

For instance, certain humanoid robots, such as Kime, are dispensing and presenting refreshments and snacks to patrons at autonomous stands in Spain. Some are also fulfilling duties as hotel concierges and in various guest-oriented positions. Humanoid Robots Nao and Pepper collaborate with students in academic environments, creating content and instructing in programming.

  • Sophia, the first robot in the world with citizenship (in Saudi Arabia) and a passport, was developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics.
  • DAL-e by Hyundai Motor Group boasts language processing, facial recognition and automated mobility capabilities for customer service.
  • Ameca by Engineered Arts stands as an intricate humanoid robot at the vanguard of human-robotics innovation, meticulously crafted to serve as a platform for advancing artificial intelligence.
  • ARMAR-6, developed by researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, can independently execute maintenance tasks within industrial facilities, discern when collaboration partners require aid, and extend support accordingly.
  • Apptronik's Apollo is a general-purpose humanoid robot designed to operate within the confines of industrial settings such as plants and warehouses, with plans to expand its operations to encompass construction, oil and gas, electronics production, retail, home delivery, elder care, etc.
  • Nadine Social Robot was developed at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and works in customer service. It has specialized modules for facial recognition, gaze behavior, speech recognition and synthesis, action recognition, object recognition, user memory, affective system (to emulate her personality, emotion, and mood), data processing, and dialog system.

Androids have been under development for a while now, but recent progress in artificial intelligence, specifically in language models, has significantly improved their potential. With 1X's NEO, the potential of androids performing tasks in homes is even closer. 

From Leonardo da Vinci, to today's sci-fi, humans have dreamt of humanoid robots for more than 500 years. It's a privilege to witness the enabling technologies form in front of our eyes, in real-time. The impact of androids joining our human workforce, on our terms will be transformative (to say the least). We're convinced 1X with their NEO androids will play a crucial role in the pioneering steps towards the first forays of our technological and human future.

Ted Persson, Partner, EQT Ventures

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Mihaela Lica Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues, with an experience of over 25 years in online PR, marketing, and SEO.She covers startups, online marketing, social media, SEO, and other topics of interest for Realty Biz News.
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