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From lab to Silicon Valley

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The REACT KE Hub (led by University of the West of England, Bristol in partnership with the Watershed and the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Cardiff) has helped one Bristol based business, Reach Robotics, to access Venture Capital investment from an incubator in Silicon Valley and to work in collaboration with arts and humanities researchers in the field of play and gaming theory.

Reach Robotics created Mecha Monsters, the world’s first robotic gaming system. The robots are controlled via player’s mobile phones as they battle with one another. Through REACT, Reach Robotics were able to collaborate with Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart, a Research Fellow at the Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE, whose research examines the ways that players understand games and subsequently engage with them. As part of the REACT programme, Reach Robotics and Dr MacCallum-Stewart were able to engage directly with their target users throughout the design and development of Mecha Monsters.

A Mekamon prototype from Reach Robotics
The latest Mekamon prototype from Reach Robotics. Credit: Reach Robotics

“Collaborations of this sort are quite rare in the field of robotics and I have found them to be invaluable. We’ve now got more robust prototypes because we had users testing and informing our design process, with research input at every stage. We’re in a stronger position with the products because of this approach to knowledge exchange” says Silas Adekunle, CEO of Reach Robotics.

“REACT’s funding and unique approach to knowledge exchange has provided with me access to high quality research, business support, and sustainable professional relationships that have helped me take my company from start-up to investment” explains Adekunle. Reach Robotics have recently been accepted onto the prestigious Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars in San Diego. They are one of only ten robotics companies in the World selected to participate in the intensive start-up programme.

This case study was featured within the AHRC 2014/15 impact report.

For more information on the project visit the Reach Robotics Website


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