In 1987 we began as a hobbyist group in our Founder’s attic in London, where we were trying to create a walking, bipedal robot. Without warning, Honda revealed they had created Asimo, the world’s first walking robot (which meant that our biped turned out to be Europe’s first walking robot). Our biped was primitive and nowhere near as sophisticated as Asimo, so we abandoned the project (the prototype can now be seen on display in the Science Museum).
We turned our attention away from feet and legs, and thought about hands. Why are there no good robot hands? There were 2 finger grippers but no robotic, anthropomorphic, dexterous hands that mimicked human hands. This was our starting point, to create the world’s first, and best, robot hands. We have always wanted to make robots that solve real-world problems, and so for us, posed the essential question – how do you give robots human skills? How can you get them to operate in human environments, and use tools designed for humans? Which led us to thinking about manipulative robotic hands. What helped us to develop this idea was realising that it’s also easier for humans to understand how to control robots remotely via teleoperation, if the robot took the same form as the human hand.
We formally registered as the Shadow Robot Company in 1997 and has since evolved into one of the longest running robotics companies in the UK, developing dexterous robotics manipulation technologies (‘hands for robots’) and using them to solve real world problems. We have produced the world’s finest anthropomorphic dexterous robotic hand, often used in research and testing, as well as developing our Smart Grasping System for the manufacturing industry. In everything we have created runs the thread of excellence in robotic manipulation and grasping. We get incredibly excited when partners propose collaborations where we get to challenge ourselves and push the boundaries of what we can do! If you’re looking for the best in robotic manipulation and grasping, speak to us.
As experts in our field, we’ve had the honour of working with some of the best organisations in the world, including NASA, GSK, Siemens, MIT and Qualcomm, amongst others. We attract clients from all over the world, and from different sectors too. We have worked with universities and research centres, as well as governments and private companies. We’ve always played an active role in a number of European research projects, as researcher, developer and end-user. We work with the best in Europe to solve difficult problems and generate new technologies. Over the years, we have been nominated for many awards, and are proud winners of the DIT Smart Award, Millennium Product, and NESTA Invention & Innovation Award.
Over the last couple of years, we have experienced vast growth here at Shadow, and now have offices in the UK (London and Bristol) and Spain (Madrid). Our international staff team is growing all of the time and we’re often recognised as the go-to people to speak to about automation and robotic solutions. For more information on how we can help solve your grasping and manipulation problems, contact us here.
We’re proud to work with the world’s best talent here at Shadow. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work for us? Take a look at our staff profiles to hear what our team think!