Figures: the Californian company reveals its humanoid robot
On March 2 of this year, American startup company Figure announced its first product: the 01 humanoid robot . For now it is still a prototype, and the rendering of the video uploaded by the company proves it. But in the intentions of its builders, the robot, a device oriented towards general purpose use, will be able to think; above all, it will be able to solve the problem of manpower shortage and help eliminate unsafe and not very noble jobs. At least, that's what the engineers are hoping for.
Figures and its birth
The startup's robotics team is exceptionally skilled, and is led by chief technology officer (CTO) Jerry Pratt. His, in fact, is a curriculum that should not be underestimated, as he spent 20 years in Florida, at the IHMC. Leading the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition group, he placed second in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals.
But that's not all: Pratt has contributed to DRC Atlas (a Boston Dynamics prototype for the competition), NASA's Valkyrie and, most recently, Nadia. IHMC has thus established itself as a leader in robot design and control over the years.
Returning to today, Brett Adcock founded Figure in 2022, hiring more than 40 engineers from different companies in the sector in the last year. The aforementioned IHMC and Boston Dynamics, but also companies such as Tesla , Waymo and Google X. Not the latest arrivals in the humanoid robot field, therefore, making Figure one of the best in its field, according to the CEO.
The characteristics of the 01 model and the intentions of the Californian company
The reason why Figure is building a humanoid robot in the first place could be defined as purely commercial and utility-oriented. In fact, the CTO himself says that, with his team, he is not trying to push performance to the limit and break records . Rather, together they intend to build a robot with stable performance and robust design. For now they won't focus on the stunts shown by Boston Dynamics with Atlas, then.
But while keeping the humanoid form slim and agile enough, the designers wanted to see the 01 alongside humans. In particular, like many other companies in the same field, Figure enters the market having warehouses as an obvious entry point.
At present, experience from engineers suggests that there will always be a more specialized robot that can perform a specific task better. And given the desire to build one with legs, having a construction difficulty equal to one without, it is better to make it general purpose. But always in the ambit of a human workspace ; this is the thought of the Californian company.
Moving on to the specifics, the engineers didn't go too far, also because, and it should be reiterated, for now it's still all rendering and concept. The final robot, however, will be fully electric, 1.6 meters tall, weigh 60 kilograms with a payload of 20 kg . While the battery will last for 5 hours on one charge.
On the official website, on the Master Plan page, it clearly reads "Expanding human capabilities through advanced artificial intelligence ". And it still reads, “ the goal of Figure: to develop generic humanoids that have a positive impact on humanity and create a better life for future generations .”
Going forward, however, the company says it understands that all of this will take decades, a dedicated cause team, billions of dollars invested, and engineering innovation. The risk is certainly high as are the chances of failure. Not without concluding that, if it goes through, Figure could become the largest company on the planet with a positive impact on humanity.
In short, from California they are not joking, and beyond their announced mission, there is a strong desire to place themselves on the market, first if possible. However, we haven't seen anything concrete yet and we hope it doesn't result in hard-to-fulfill promises, as often happens in robotics.
The article Figures: the Californian company reveals its humanoid robot was written on: Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .