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Sanctuary AI’s new 5’7″ humanoid robot lifts 55 lb

Since Tesla announced its intention to build one in the summer of 2021, humanoid robots have been emerging. Sanctuary Cognitive Systems Corporate (or Sanctuary AI) just reached a major milestone.

Phoenix, a form factor from Vancouver, British Columbia, was unveiled. The 5’7′′, 155-pound bipedal robot aims to augment (or replace) humans. It can lift 55 pounds and travel three miles per hour.

The system has 20-degree hands “that rival human hand dexterity and fine manipulation with proprietary haptic technology that mimics the sense of touch.”

The company deployed Phoenix’s predecessor at a Mark’s retail store outside Vancouver in March. The fifth-generation system completed “110 retail-related tasks, including front- and back-of-store activities such as picking and packing merchandise, cleaning, tagging, labeling, folding, and more, in a week-long pilot.

General purpose is another important aspect of these humanoid robots. Building a system that can do anything its human coworkers can do is harder than building the hardware.

“We designed Phoenix to be the most sensor-rich and physically capable humanoid ever built and to enable Carbon’s rapidly growing intelligence to perform the broadest set of work tasks possible,” says co-founder and CEO Geordie Rose. “We envision a future where general-purpose robots are as common as cars, helping people do work when there aren’t enough people.”

Sanctuary’s Carbon platform powers general-purpose

“To be general-purpose, a robot needs to be able to do nearly any work task the way you’d expect a person to, in the environment where the work is,” Rose says. “While it is easy to get fixated on the physical aspects of a robot, our view is that the robot is just a tool for the real star of the show, which is our proprietary AI control system, the robot’s carbon-based mind.”

Sanctuary announced a Series A investment of near $60 million last March. Eight months later, the Canadian government invested $30 million, bringing its total funding above $100 million.

Sanctuary shows where the race to build the perfect humanoid robot stands without the renders. Phoenix isn’t as sleek as it looks, but that doesn’t diminish its achievements. Remember, we’re early in something big.

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