mimic raises $2.5M to challenge US robotics dominance with AI-driven humanoid hands

mimic plans to ease work shortages with human-like robotic hands that fit into manual labour workflows, driven by AI models trained from human demonstrations. 
mimic raises $2.5M to challenge US robotics dominance with AI-driven humanoid hands

mimic, a Swiss startup, has raised $2.5 million in Pre-Seed funding to challenge US dominance and join the robotics race to be the first to market a robotic arm and humanoid hand combination using AI.

Spinning out from the research university ETH Zurich, mimic was founded by researchers Elvis Nava, Stefan Weirich, Stephan-Daniel Gravert and Benedek Forrai in 2024. 

The founding team were working at the intersection of robotics and AI under Professor Robert Katzschmann's Soft Robotic Labs when they became increasingly convinced that the latest developments in large-scale generative AI models would upend a multitude of industries beyond just language and image generation. 

The team set out to develop a foundation model for robotic manipulation.

mimic plans to ease labour shortages with dexterous, human-like robotic hands that fit seamlessly into existing manual labour workflows, driven by AI models trained directly from human demonstrations. 

Co-founder Stephan-Daniel Gravert explains: 

"Most use cases are stationary and do not require a full humanoid robot with legs. 

That's why we focus data-collection and hardware ingenuity on a universal robotic hand compatible with off-the-shelf industrial robotic arms for positioning." 

This solution will enable a robot with humanoid hands to understand and imitate any behaviour simply by watching a human perform it.

This marks a departure from conventional robotic solutions, which focus on being purpose-built for narrow use cases. 

"We designed our robot to mimic a human hand so it fits in our world, instead of re-designing the world to fit with our robot," says co-founder Elvis Nava.

A foundation AI model will power mimic's robots, making them able to execute tasks with minimal demonstrations without requiring expensive, complicated programming by engineers for each new task.

 Already, the team has been approached by a wide range of initial customers, from supermarkets, industrial baking and gastronomy to manufacturing, recycling and pharmaceutical lab automation.

According to co-founder Stefan Weirich:

"Conventional automation leaves a huge gap of tedious, low to medium volume manual labour tasks that often fall under the table because they are too complex or not economical to automate. 

It becomes increasingly harder for retail and manufacturing companies to find the right staff for these tasks. Taking AI-driven robotic manipulation to the next level, we can now address these challenges with unparalleled flexibility and ease of use."

Founderful leads today's funding, which includes participation from another.vc, Tiny.vc, and specialised angel investors.

Alex Stöckl, founding partner at Founderful, commented: 

"We were impressed by mimic's technology and vision. We believe that the market for AI driven robots is going to grow exponentially, and we will see these robots gain widespread adoption very soon".

Looking forward, the team will develop their robot and AI model in the coming months to prepare for mimic's official product launch this year. 

Lead image: mimic. Photo: uncredited. 

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