10 Coolest Robots of 2021 & 20 Fast Growing Robotics Companies

From the home to the workplace, and to the sky above, robots in 2021 are transforming the world we know —and helping us understand the worlds we don’t. Let’s highlight a few of these remarkable machines and how they might transform not only how we interact with ourselves, but also the universe around us.  

1) Mars Perseverance & Ingenuity

NASA’s new rover Perseverance, and it’s remarkable payload — the Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity.
Image credit: NASA

Mars is a planet exclusively populated by robots. The two newest editions to the Martian robot family are NASA’s new rover Perseverance, and it’s remarkable payload — the Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity.   

Perseverance will have a familiar look to many, given the popularity of earlier Martian rovers like Opportunity, Spirit, and Curiosity to name a few. Packed with sensors, drills, and collection tools, Perseverance is a technological marvel, but Ingenuity represents something altogether different.  

Ingenuity will be the first manmade object to attempt flight in the ultrathin Martian atmosphere. The technology that Ingenuity is testing has the potential to take us places even the greatest of rovers could never dream of.  

2) Moley the robotic chef

Image credit: Moley Robotics

Let’s come down from the stars above and look at something a little closer to home — your kitchen. Meet Moley, the world’s first fully robotic kitchen. While Moley is a far cry from the magic of food replicators in Star Trek, it might be the next best thing.  

With two robotic arms, Moley will cook complete meals for you, tell you when ingredients need replacing, suggest dishes based on the ingredients you have available, learn what you like, and even tidy up kitchen surfaces if it makes a mess. 

Moley also comes in a lighter version that lacks robotic arms but offers touch screens, smart appliances, and a recipe database. For this setup, the price tag is a modest $135K. For the full setup with robotic arms, because of course that’s what everyone wants, you’re looking to pay in the range of $340K.  

3) Toyota’s robotic butler

Image credit: Popular Mechanics

If a robotic kitchen and a Roomba aren’t enough, the brilliant minds at Toyota Research Institute (TRI) have you covered. Inspired by Japan’s aging population, engineers at TRI conceived of building a home designed to operate a robotic butler. It can do everything from cleaning surfaces to gently opening a drink for you.  

The downside of this design is that the robotic butler requires scaffolding on the ceiling or walls of every room the robot will operate in. They are working on developing a robot butler that can function without scaffolding but it will suffer from the same mobility issues with stairs and obstacles that other home robots have.  

While building your home with scaffolding for a hanging robot may not be the most aesthetically pleasing design, it does offer hope to our aging population that they can remain living in their own homes for longer, with a robotic butler on 24-hour standby for whatever they might need.   

4) Spot by Boston Dynamics

Image credit: Boston Dynamics

If robotic kitchens and butlers appeal to you, then how about a robot dog? Boston Dynamics, a company that cannot be ignored when talking about robotics, developed the multipurpose robot dog Spot.  

Spot isn’t really intended to be a personal pet. With a base price tag of $74.5K, Spot is meant for industrial purposes. Spot can get into tight squeezes in mines or construction sites and areas that might be dangerous for human inspectors.

But if you are looking for a pet robot dog, Unitree offers a similar offering to Spot at a greatly reduced size and price. Coming in at little under $10K, Unitree Robotics A1 could be your new loyal companion, with significantly less doggy mess to clean up.

5) Digit by Agility Robotics

Image credit: Agility Robotics

Staying in the vein of robots designed for industrial applications, Digit, made by Agility Robotics is a vaguely human-shaped robot, albeit missing a head. Packed with sensors and two arms and two legs, Digit is capable of navigating complex environments that other robot laborers would struggle with.

Able to walk, run, or climb stairs — and with the relatively modest price tag of $250K — Digit is shaping up to be a major contender in the race to automate workplace manual labor. 

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6) Atlas by Boston Dynamics

6) Atlas by Boston Dynamics
Image credit: Boston Dynamics

We have yet another entry in this list from the amazing minds at Boston Dynamics — Atlas, the world’s most dynamic humanoid robot. The Atlas disaster-response robot made its public debut on July 11, 2013 in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). Back then, Atlas was a bruiser, coming in at 6’2”, weighing 330lbs, and tethered to an external power supply and computer system.  

Since then, Atas has evolved into something more like a ballet dancer. Measuring a little less than 5’ and weighing 187lbs, Atlas has near human articulation and is capable of operating without a tether.   

And we would be remiss not to mention that Atlas also has some pretty sick dance moves.  

7) Guardian XO Exoskeleton

Image credit: Sarcos Robotics

If you’ve ever dreamed of an Ironman power suit of your own, Sarcos Robotics should be on your radar. Although you can’t shoot laser beams out of your hands or fly on rockets in your feet, Sarcos’s Guardian XO Exoskeleton bestows us mere mortals with the power of superhuman strength — at least until the battery runs out.  

Able to enhance human strength up to 20X (with a maximum lift of 200lbs), the Guardian XO Exoskeleton has applications across dozens of industries. Everything from manufacturing, warehouses, and defense are looking to integrate exoskeletons into their operations. And with a lease price of $100K per year, it looks like the science fiction promise of exoskeletons might finally be a reality.

8) Vicarious medical robot

8) Vicarious medical robot
Image credit: Vicarious Surgical

According to Allied Market Research, the robotic surgery market is worth approximately $90 billion. It’s no surprise that there are many exciting new companies springing up to capitalize on the market size and the untapped potential of integrating new technologies like virtual reality and 5G wireless into healthtech.  

One of those exciting new companies is Bill Gates backed Vicarious Surgical. Having raised $40 million, Vicarious Surgical’s mission is to transport surgeons inside the patient to perform minimally invasive surgery using proprietary human-like surgical robots and virtual reality.   

9) British loyal wingman

Image credit: GOV.UK

If we are integrating robots into our kitchens, our bodies, and sending them into space, it makes perfect sense the military is getting in on the action too. The British government recently announced plans to build a prototype loyal wingman-type unmanned aircraft by 2023, with Spirit AeroSystems winning the $41 million contract to design the new fighter. 

We’ve had unmanned drones in military operations for decades now, but this new generation will be faster, smarter, and more autonomous. The loyal wingman is intended to provide the human pilots who fly alongside it with additional protection, intelligence, and enhanced survivability odds during missions. 

10. Xenobots

Xenobots
Image credit: Douglas Blackiston, Tufts University 

Some listicles like to end on a big and splashy entry but that’s not our style. We’re going to end this article on the tiniest robot on our list. But don’t let their size fool you, these little guys could end up having a bigger impact on our lives than all the other robots on this list combined.  

Meet the Xenobots, living, programmable organisms! 

Xenobots are synthetic organisms made from embryonic stem cells of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), hence the name — Xenobots.  

Depending on how you define a robot, Xenobots are not the C3PO archetype you are envisioning, but they are undeniably machines. They are created by computers to perform specific functions. Individually, they can complete simple tasks, but the real potential for Xenobots is their ability to cooperate with each other to perform more complex undertakings.  

Scientists envision Xenobots as a means to deliver medication to specific parts of the body, scrape plaque from arteries, and could even be used at scale for environmental remediation like removing plastics from the ocean. And since Xenobots are organic cells, they are not pollutants or toxins. Once their job is diligently completed and they exhaust their available nutrients, they simply biodegrade in the environment like all living cells.  

So far Xenobots have been taught to walk, swim, push pellets, carry payloads, and work together in a swarm to aggregate debris scattered along the surface of a dish into neat piles. We are just at the inception of this incredible technology but it’s safe to say, you will be hearing more about these little guys in the years to come.  

Top 20 Robotics Companies to Watch 

Now that you’ve learned about some of the coolest robots shaking up the 2021 landscape, let’s dig into the robotic companies that should be on your radar. Here’s a list of the top 20 must-watch robotics companies that should be on your lead generation radar and you can find hundreds more on Gazelle.ai.   

The Gazelle.ai platform allows you to build company lists of your target industries that include contact info, organization summaries, HQ locations, their likelihood of expansion, and much more. Start your free trial today! 

Intuitive Surgical

Intuitive Surgical is a developer of robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques and tools.

iRobot

iRobot designs and builds robots that empower people to do more. The company’s home robots help people find smarter ways to clean and accomplish more in their daily lives.

Boston Dynamics 

Boston Dynamics is an engineering company that specializes in building dynamic robots and software for human simulation.

ABB 

ABB Ltd (ABB), is engaged in power and automation technologies. The Company provides a range of products, systems, solutions and services. Its automation businesses serve a range of industries with measurement, control, protection and process optimization applications.

Yamaha Motor 

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, develops, produces, and sells motorcycles, marine products, power products, and industrial machinery and robots, and other products in Japan, North America, Europe, other Asian countries, and internationally.

Seiko Epson 

Seiko Epson Corp is a Japanese electronics company and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of computer printers, and information and imaging related equipment.

Midea Group

Midea Group is the pioneer in industrial automation, with over 800 of robots and digital process systems being deployed in our own manufacturing facilities.

Denso Corp

DENSO is a global manufacturer of automotive components offering advanced automotive technologies, systems and products.

Siemens AG 

Siemens AG is a global technology powerhouse that brings together the digital and physical worlds to benefit customers and society. The company focuses on intelligent infrastructure for buildings and decentralized energy systems, on automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries, and on smart mobility solutions for rail and road transport.

Honda Motor 

The Honda Motor Company, Ltd. is a Japanese public multinational conglomerate manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles, and power equipment, headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. 

Amazon Robotics

Amazon Robotics, formerly Kiva Systems, is a Massachusetts-based company that manufactures mobile robotic fulfillment systems. 

Piaggio Fast Forward 

PFF’s mission is to revolutionize how people and goods move around 21st century cities by designing, developing, and manufacturing new kinds of vehicles.

Diligent Robotics

Diligent Robotics develops AI-powered robot assistants to collaborate with and adapt to humans in everyday environments.

General Dynamics 

General Dynamics is a global aerospace and defense company. From Gulfstream business jets and combat vehicles to nuclear-powered submarines and communications systems, people around the world depend on our products and services for their safety and security.

Left Hand Robotics 

Left Hand Robotics autonomous, self-driving outdoor robots clear snow & mow grass & turf. Best for parks, college campus, sod farms, golf, municipality and cities.

Dronesense 

DroneSense is the most complete drone management and collaboration platform for public safety.

Harvest Automation 

Harvest Automation is a material handling company that provides robots to resolve manual labor problems across multiple industries.

Sarcos Robotics

Sarcos Robotics enables the workforce of the future with dexterous robotic systems that prevent injury, save lives and create new possibilities.

Agility Robotics 

Human-like capabilities allow Agility Robotics’ Digit to work with and alongside workers, without the need to modifying offices, factories, or homes.

Picknik Robotics 

PickNik combines world-class robotics expertise and state of the art open source robotics frameworks to save you time and money.


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