Sous-Chef Bot Enters the Scene


Recently, I had the good fortune of meeting Jason Ravel, a new robotic entrepreneur out of Columbia University. He is focused on helping solve real problems for physically-challenged humans in an aging world. I am sworn to secrecy, but let’s just say Wall-E and Evo maybe closer than one might think. Ravel, a software guru, has already turned the robot world on his head by creating the first sous-chef robot within a “Restaurant Impossible” budget. Working with his friends in the ivy halls of 116th Street, Jason constructed Talos, a cardboard-looking helpful kitchen-mate. Viking or Subzero aesthetic it has not, but did we mention that Talos costs around $800 for a fully mobile, programmable robot, complete with computer vision and path planning. The ingredient list includes: • Microsoft Kinect sensor ($110) • OWI robotic arms x 2 ($90) • iRobot Create ($130) • Cement holding tube ($20) • Wooden pieces ($50) • USB hub ($10) • Speakers ($10) • Macbook, used ($380)

  • “It’s the first low-cost robotic platform of its kind. We learned that we could engineer a fully functional humanoid robot capable of multiple tasks in the home for cheap, something that had never been done before,” writes Ravel, the project leader.

Ravel could be the beginning of a new wave of robotic entrepreneurs that bring software/web economics to the hardware world to dramatically reduce costs with open source participation. Reprinted by permission. Image credit: Robot Rabbi Video credit: sourceyyy

About the author: Oliver Mitchell

Oliver Mitchell is a seasoned entrepreneur and business executive with more than 20 years of marketing / operating experience. Previously, he was the Chairman & Chief Creative Officer of RobotGalaxy, a retail entertainment brand that he founded in 2006.

As father of five, Oliver launched RobotGalaxy to fill a personal need: he wanted a wholesome activity for his son. Today, RobotGalaxy’s patented toys are available nationally at Toys’R’Us, Nordstrom Department Stores, and online with a growing virtual world and library of mobile apps.

Before RobotGalaxy, Oliver was involved in a number of successful technology ventures and real estate developments. Oliver was part of the executive team of Softcom/IVT, an interactive video startup backed by Allen & Co., Intel Capital (NASDAQ:INTC) and Sun Microsystems. At IVT, Oliver was instrumental in expanding the market for their products with such leading broadcasters as HBO, Showtime, and Home Shopping Network.

Prior to IVT, Oliver was a founding member of AmeriCash, Inc., a network of ATMs in high traffic retail locations. AmeriCash was acquired by American Express (NYSE:AXP) within 32 months of operations. Oliver was also instrumental in the development of Holmes Protection and its sale to ADT/Tyco International (NYSE:TYC). Oliver has extensive background in merchant banking and advertising. He started his career at Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners.

Oliver holds 14 patents and has appeared on numerous television shows, including: The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Fox Business News, The Today Show, and Rachel Ray. He also serves as a mentor on the Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator Fund, and advises many technology companies on their growth strategies.

Oliver is also the publisher of the well-known robotics blog Robot Rabbi and is in the midst of writing a book entitled, “An Innovator’s Field Guide: Taking Ideas From Zero to Hero.”

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