Start-up Forum

In a collaboration with IEEE RAS Industry Advisory Board (IAB) and incubators such as Silicon Valley Robotics, Mass Robotics, Pennovation, and Pittsburgh Robotics Network a set of companies are being invited to present their business plan and how they are going to market. The objectives are two-fold: present examples of early-stage start-ups, have them discuss ideas with venture capitalists and the broader audience. The final set of companies to be presented during this forum is still under discussion.



Rob Palfreyman


Seismic’s technology was originally developed at SRI International for a DARPA-funded program to reduce injury risk and enhance soldier endurance. Recognizing its profound application beyond the military, Seismic spun out of SRI to explore Powered Clothing for a wide range of applications. Seismic™ Powered Clothing is a fusion of apparel and robotics, designed to reduce muscle strain and fatigue by providing your core with extra power and stability. Lightweight, breathable and comfortable: our connected apparel is engineered with Flex-Drive™ electric muscles that align with your anatomical muscles to provide Intelligent Wearable Strength™.


Matthias Scheutz

Thinking Robots

Thinking Robots Inc. is a Boston-based startup with the goal to make cumbersome robot programming obsolete by allowing users to simply tell robots what to do through natural language dialogues. The Thinking Robots software works with any kind of robot and enables non-experts to teach robots new tasks in “one shot” that the robot can carry out immediately. Moreover, users can interact with robots during task execution, modifying existing tasks, or teaching new tasks. The software also allows users to instruct tasks that involve multiple heterogeneous robots and IoT devices. The software is currently deployed on the social ZNO robot for orthodontist and dental office.


Lenore Rasmussen & Calum Briggs


Ras Labs combines material science innovation with data science and precision engineering to provide the first, state-of-art, tactile sensor for robotic fingers. Key Capabilities of the Tactile Fingertip™:

  • Soft Gripping for fragile objects
  • Touch detection
  • Location of object in the gripper
  • Gripping angle, force & pressure
  • Gripping force gradient

The Enabling Technology is a unique Electroactive Polymer (EAP) which is extremely sensitive to touch (< 0.05 N) for that crucial first point of contact, and is soft and compliant, like a fingertip, yet robust and durable. Formable in different shapes and firmness. Our sensors are extremely sensitive, with broad pressure range from at 0.005N up to 50N with 1mm resolution. Human touch is around 0.1N.


Maeve Cameron


Treeswift is building the data ecosystem for the natural world. Using high resolution sensors and algorithms, we capture forest data underneath the canopy to estimate carbon, timber, and forest fuel volumes that is more accurate and verifiable than methods today. Our first-of-its-kind robotic forest inventory system uses custom unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) purposely built for forestry. By flying under the canopy, we capture data that was previously impossible to collect and push it through our analytics pipeline to detect and extract individual per-tree metrics which are integral across all aspects of forest management. Treeswift offers an unparalleled technological solution which is accurate, efficient, and scalable for forest landowners. These accurate and transparent forest datasets will serve as the foundation for new types of high quality carbon markets, wildfire decision support systems, insurance markets and more.


Jacob Hanchar

Digital Dreams Lab

Digital Dream Labs _(DDL)_ is an award-winning edtechtainment company that develops interactive learning solutions and consumer robots for people of all ages. DDL holds 40+ patents and markets products in smart toy, educational technology and smart home categories. DDL’s robots blend state-of-the-art technology (AI, cloud computing, SLAM, mechatronics) with personality and behavior in a way that accelerates adoption, makes learning more engaging and transforms the way STEAM topics are taught, pre-K to adulthood. Join DDL in its mission to democratize consumer robotics — to make AI robots both accessible and affordable — and ignite a curiosity in STEAM education around the world!


Brual C. Shah

Grey Matter Robotics

GrayMatter Robotics is an AI-Robotics company delivering surface finishing and treatment solutions to manufacturers. They combine their AI-software with off-the-shelf robots, sensors, and tools and provide smart robotic assistants to customers using Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) model. GrayMatter Robotics solutions help manufacturers improve quality of lives of the shop floor workers, enhance production capacity, and reduce scrap, repair, rework costs. Recently, GrayMatter Robotics was awarded the RBR50 Robotics Innovation Award for their Scan&Sand solution. Brual is a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for GrayMatter Robotics, where he leads a team for developing AI-based robotic systems for surface treatment applications like sanding, polishing, buffing and spraying. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Shah was a Research Scientist in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California where he has worked on projects in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon technologies. Dr. Shah has published more than 30 papers and holds 3 patents. He has received a best paper award at an international conference. He was a part of the team that won 1st Prize in 2017 Agile Robotics for Industrial Automation Competition (ARIAC) competition organized by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).