How do we Define Robotics

By Frederick Dopfel

When most people think of robots, they are drawn to think of mechanical humanoids like C3-PO or Rosie the Robot. Others think of industrial robotic arms, or Boston Dynamic's Big Dog and Spot quadrupeds. But few people think of the robots that they interact with on a regular basis: automated checkout, dishwashers, and laundry machines. Imagine if you told someone 100 years ago that there was a machine that would work at your bank and give you access to your account, like a teller, or a machine that would guide you as you drive to wherever you want to go. Our hypothetical friend would certainly call these machines robots, but we call them ATMs and GPS navigation systems.

The most broadly agreed upon definition of a robot is: "a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer." A quick glance around the room will likely turn up many devices that already fit this definition. We are already living in an age of robotics, and those robots are only going to become more prevalent. At Grishin Robotics, we believe that robots are only called "robots" until they become everyday devices.

We believe that the greatest value to be generated in robotics comes not from devices that are overtly "robots" but from devices that seamlessly integrate into the lives of hundreds of millions of everyday people. When we see a Roomba, we think "vacuum cleaner". When we see a Ring, we think "doorbell". When we see a Peloton, we think "exercise bike". All these companies put emphasis not only on hardware, but also on the software to give them a pleasant user experience that customers will use day after day. This tight integration between the physical and digital sides of their product is crucial not only to building a good product, but also to making a defensible business that protects against competitors undercutting hardware costs. These are robotic products, but we don't call them “robots” because they have become completely ordinary in our lives through the integration of good hardware and smart software.

We are excited to work with founders who share our vision, and want to build a world where robots are a little less sci-fi, and a lot more ordinary.