If youre building drones, personal delivery vehicles or robots that can perform surgery, a desk in acoworking community likeWeWork or RocketSpace probably wont be enough for you. Now, the city of Bostonhas opened a new facility just for robotics startups. The nonprofit hub, MassRobotics, is located at 12 Channel Street in Bostons Seaport Innovation District.
According to a press statement, MassRobotics facility includes labs and expensive equipment that startups need for testing and prototyping, like industrial-grade oscilloscopes, 3D printers, aeroelectronics and an enclosure for indoor drone testing.MassRobotics is leasing 15,000 square feet and will build out another 25,000 square feet in the building.Anofficial ribbon-cutting ceremony is to be held tomorrow, February 17th, with Bostons Mayor Marty Walsh.
According to MassRobotics hubco-founder Joyce Sidopoulos, MassRobotics isnt just about providing an innovation space for robotics companies, as important as that is. The initiative is aligned with other local efforts byMass Technology Leadership Council, a partner to MassRobotics,aimed at keeping tech talent in town, creating jobs or taking jobs at major employers, locally. Mass TLC has won a number of economic development and related grants to help ensure that New England remains a regional leader in the burgeoning robotics industry.
Employersin the field of robotics with a significant presence in the greater Boston area range from large companies like General Dynamics, Draper and Amazon Robotics, to a huge number ofstartups like Locus Robotics,Soft Roboticsand Rise Robotics.Initial residents at MassRobotics alpha space include agriculture-focusedAmerican Robotics, urban mobility startupHurdler Motors, theAir Force Research Lab HMSS and the makers of robots used for inspections in the oil and gas industry,Square Robots.
Besides providing innovation space, MassRobotics and their partners MassTLC are connecting early-stage companieswith potential pilot customers, helping them find nearby sites where they canfly, float or otherwise test their robots, and providing workforce training to people who want to get jobs in advanced manufacturing.
Its true that you cant just work on a laptop in this field. You need space to build, learn, rearrange chips on a board, put it back in, run tests But thisinnovation hub willalso bring startups together, where hopefullyeveryone can help each other out. Were already seeing senior companies offer to mentor newcomers in the field, and we have heard from alist of robotics companies a mile long whowant to move in, Sidopoulos said.
Update: This post was editedto specifythat MassTLC and MassRobotics are operated separately.