Open Bionics and Reach Robotics selected for UKTI trade mission in Japan

Issue date: 11 March 2015

Open Bionics and Reach Robotics, two robotics startups based at the Technology Business Incubator at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), recently represented 'the best of British innovation' as part of the 'Innovation is GREAT' campaign headed by the Duke of Cambridge, HRH Prince William in Tokyo.

The robotics trade mission, organised by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), heard from inventor Joel Gibbard, of Open Bionics, and Reach Robotics founder, Silas Adekunle.

Both Joel and Silas showcased their inventions at the event. Silas demonstrated his spider-like mecha monsters 'battle' robot at the opening campaign event, and Joel presented his latest 3D printed robotic hand.

The UKTI hopes to strengthen the working relationship between academics and businesses in Japan and Britain.

A spokesperson for the British embassy said Joel is proof that 'harnessing entrepreneurial skills and design principles can lead to the development of life-changing products.'

The campaign is designed to drive innovation, research and development, and commercial partnerships between the academic and business sectors.

A spokesperson from British Embassy said, “Great ideas flourish in Great Britain. The highest standard of universities, a well-established business environment and governance, government support and incentives help make creative ideas come to life.”

'Innovation is GREAT' is a year-long campaign by the British Government to build partnerships between the United Kingdom and Japan to lead positive social change in the future. The British Embassy Tokyo launched its campaign on the occasion of the Duke of Cambridge's visit to Japan by showcasing the best of British innovation at a series of launch events.

Joel also gave a talk at the University of Tokyo about how design and innovation can be used for social change.

Open Bionics is an award-winning robotics company based inside the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a world renowned centre for excellence in robotics innovation and research. The company was founded in April 2014 and seeks to create affordable 3D printed robotic hands for amputees. The start-up has won multiple awards for innovation including 'Prosthetic Innovation of the Year' and was recently named in the international RBR50 list, as one of the most noteworthy companies in the global robotics industry for 2015.

Reach Robotics is developing the world's first robotic gaming system for the consumer market. The robots battle in real life, controlled by players via tablet or smart phone. Founder, Silas Adekunle, was named as the runner-up in the People's Choice category at Pitch@Palace competition, held at St James's Palace hosted by HRH, The Duke of York.

Both start-ups are based at the Technology Business Incubator, a visionary pilot program to stimulate and support technology start-ups. Working with undergraduate, graduate, post-graduates, staff and partner spinout businesses the incubator provides the BRL with up-to-date and detailed understanding of technology start-up needs and enhances the BRL's creative and entrepreneurial culture. It provides valuable input to courses, research and research exploitation.

For all the latest information from Open Bionics, visit: or follow them on Twitter @openbionics.

For all the latest information from Reach Robotics, visit: or follow them @ReachRobotics.

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