Stretch is an $18,000 robot that can… do things

When we see a new automation robot that is meant to pave the future of home robotics, we wouldn’t imagine it looks like a pair of tongs attached to a mobile hat stand. This is Stretch – the first product from Hello Robot, co-founded by the ex-Google director of robotics Aaron Edsinger and Georgia Tech robotics professor Charlie Kemp.

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Stretch has been in development for three years and is billed as a research platform that Edsinger and Kemp hope will lay the groundwork for home automation in the years to come. They posit that the lightweight and low-cost design could be a blueprint for future robots, especially the ones built to help in assisting the elderly or those with disabilities.

It is now on sale, with the “research edition” of Stretch costing $18,000. The main customers are expected to be corporations and research teams. Hello Robot even sells a six-pack of Stretches for just under $100,000.

“Our long term mission is to see these types of robots in homes and workplaces being useful and helpful to people,” Edsinger said. “What we anticipate now, though, is research labs, corporate R&D, and venture-backed startups using this for a variety of applications, all of which will move the ball forward for these mobile manipulators.”

“We went through thousands of reviews, looked at the best reviewed grippers out there, used by real people in real homes grabbing objects they really wanted, and this design came out on top, both in the evaluations on Amazon and in our labs. We were able to make a robotic version of it and it’s really just so versatile and forgiving. It doesn’t have to be in the exact right place to work, it’s just good at grabbing onto stuff.”