Cyberselves and Touchlab will team up in an effort to scoop the $5 million first place spot at the ANA Avatar XPRIZE later this year.

The competition, with a total prize pot worth $10m, calls for teams to develop physical robotic avatar systems to carry out tasks and replicate human senses, actions and presence to a remote location in real-time.  

This UK team combines Cyberselves’ robotics telepresence technology with Touchlab’s electronic skin (e-skin) for robots.

Just 20 teams from all over the world were chosen for the finals of the competition, taking place on November 4-5th at the Long Beach Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. 

Cyberselves & Touchlab is the only UK team competing in the final. The event is open to the public and free to attend.  

The $10m competition challenges teams to develop physical robot avatar systems, which through replicating human senses and actions can transport human presence to a remote location in real time.  

Cyberselves, a robotics software company, impressed judges in the semi-finals with its low-latency, robotic-agnostic software Animus, an easy-to-use system that enables telepresence – the immersive remote control of any robot, anywhere in the world, allowing users to see what the robot sees, hear what the robot hears, feel what the robot touches.  

Also impressing in the competition was Edinburgh-based Touchlab, which topped our FactoryTech 50 ranking this year.

The company has developed low-profile tactile sensing electronic skin, eDermis, which measures pressure and location, and triaxial ‘e-skin’ measures shear and normal forces to give robots an intuitive, human-like sense of touch, slip and pain.

“This is a competition more than four years in the making, and over the past few months we really started to see how an official team-up between Cyberselves and Touchlab could result in something incredible for the XPRIZE finals,” said Daniel Camilleri, founder and CEO of Cyberselves.

“Whilst the experience has been competitive, I think our team shows how collaborative and inclusive the tech world can be. Rather than just seeing each other as competitors we are instead thinking – I want to work with that team too and let’s go forward together to make something even better than we first planned.  

“We have admired how Touchlab works and have evolved their technology throughout the XPRIZE experience, and with similar values and a drive to create the most cutting-edge technology possible we knew combining our skills could lead to something great. 

“Together, we are the only team from the UK heading out to California in November, and we are working hard to bring home a prize – so watch this space.” 

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Dr Zaki Hussein, founder and CEO of Touchlab, said: “The Avatar XPrize is about creating a new industry of telerobots to break down barriers and transport human presence anywhere, on earth and beyond. It is a competition not only about robots, but also what it means to be human.  

“Although we are pushing post-human barriers by blurring the line between self and non-self, we believe the sense of touch, along with seamless control, will allow for the operator to feel human while present through an ‘extended-self’ avatar. 

“We hope our partnership with Cyberselves shows UK solidarity while also serving as a catalyst to others. We all need to work together in a complementary fashion to bring about real impact and commercial applications in an industry whose potential is yet to be realised – both now and beyond the XPrize.”