When robotics research becomes accessible to the general public thanks to an SME
Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest Research Centre, Thursday 2nd April 2015, 11 AM. A meeting between Monique Thonnat, Director of the Centre, and Jérôme Laplace, Director of Generation Robots, to sign the distribution and brand licensing agreement for Poppy. The SME, a programmable robot specialist, will handle the distribution of the research team's latest creation
A Technology-meets-Business story. For Generation Robots, this is a first in terms of collaboration with public research. The SME from Bordeaux, which specialises in programmable personal robots, wants to foster a passion for robotics in Europeans. That was all it took, with the help of the Flowers project team from the Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest research centre, for the seed to be sown.
Generation Robots, created in 2008, unites a community of enthusiasts. The company's activity is to select robotics products and guide potential users being initiated to, or increasing their knowledge of, this new, innovative and promising field of service robotics. "All over Europe, I have the opportunity to see innovations, good ideas, emerging from research laboratories, but scientists do not always consider the fact that there are companies capable of marketing their objects," says Jérôme Laplace. "With Flowers, things just fell into place. After a few meetings with Pierre-Yves Oudeyer (Leader of the Flowers project team) and Matthieu Lapeyre (designer of Poppy), we soon realised that there were complementary sets of expertise that would work well together. That is how this draft agreement came about. " The two-year contract should make Poppy accessible to users in three sectors: education, research, and "makers" all over Europe.
The company's ambition is easily stated: "For Poppy to become as widespread a technology as Arduino* or Raspberry PI**: inescapable " says Jérôme Laplace.
Concerning access to Poppy: things will happen very quickly, because the first orders for kits (torso and humanoid) will be possible within a week. And then, above and beyond distribution, the company will become involved in the new user community which will be created to provide advice, documentation, software, etc. All of this user feedback will inform the discussions of the researchers in the Flowers team with regard to future versions of Poppy.