RAWrobotics Challenge Finalist 2017

May 25, 2017
Article

RAWrobotics QUT bluebox Challenge Finalist 2017

As industry moves towards automation new opportunities arise, many schools around the world are including robotics in curriculums but most are too basic to provide real skills. RAWrobotics have tapped into this opportunity, creating cost effective real-world robotics products for classrooms that could put Australia as leaders in the field!

Q&A with RAWrobotics founders Lindsay Watt, Luke Housego, Chris Lenton, Sam Ashcroft

Who is RAWrobotics?

The RAWrobotics team includes, Lindsay Watt, QUT Computer and Software and Engineering student; Luke Housego, Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Business (Accounting) student; Chris Lenton, QUT Mechatronics Engineering student; and Sam Ashcroft QUT Mechanical Engineer (honours) alumnus, and I.T student.

Together they bring wealth of experience to exciting practical educational robotics products that can power the next generation.

What is RAWrobotics?

RAWrobotics is developing a range of practical, accessible, Australian-made and owned robotics education products for high schools.

The move towards automation creates a number of job opportunities.  However, having gone through their own robotics education the team is aware that it is still insufficient for real world application.

“We saw the flaws going through the education system ourselves; in university, we were  provided the same robotics tools that we not only used in high school but primary school as well. We realised that there's really nothing available for high school and above.  There's too much of a gap that we're finding between moving from high school robotics into university degrees and then from that into jobs. There's a huge skill gap here,” Chris said.

The RAWrobotics products bridge this gap.

“The products mimic what you would see out there in the real world, like say a robot that you may see in a car factory. What we are doing is developing a scaled down version of that, so that it can then be used in educational institutions to teach the skills required to enter into those jobs,” Chris explains.

Sam adds, “There are platforms similar to this but the cost is too high for schools. We want to make something that is in the same price range as a school laptop.”

As a father himself, Sam believes Australian kids deserve an opportunity to have access to what may be the key to the future.

“I have a vision, which includes my children using real world modern and relevant robotics and programming tools as they progress through this country’s education. I have a duty to my children to improve the status quo” Sam said.


Biggest challenge with starting up RAWrobotics

As the team design and build their robotics products in house, the cost of manufacturing and the accessibility to do so has been a challenge.
“So we're a hardware startup so we have to actually build and develop our products. So there's a lot of hours to making robots and manufacturing,” Chris said.

“We’ve managed to cling together something from my garage, but manufacturing has been a big barrier, funding and gaining access to CNC and injection moulding,” Sam added.

As well as that Luke mentions that like many startups the next business decision is also a something RAWrobotics has to navigate, “So there's many different pathways that you can walk on any day, so many different questions that arise at any point in time, it's you know you've got to get that recipe right.”

Greatest success

Although the team is humble, RAWrobotics has a quiet a few success and hope to have more.

“We founded RAWrobotics in October 2016, in that time we have been through a couple of accelerator programs including the QUT Bluebox Robotics Accelerator. In the garage, we have set up CNC machining and injection moulding capabilities – something usually reserved for industry, as well as rapid prototyping facilities that allow us to design and develop our products quickly,” Lindsay said.

He continued, “we have developed up our first product, the Orion5 robotic arm to a point where the next step is to move into mass manufacture. We have sold 70 units of Orion5 to QUT for use in an undergraduate mechatronics subject. And we are currently finalising sales to two of the leading robotics and STEM schools in Queensland.”

The crowd vote for the QUT bluebox Challenge is now OPEN! Vote for RAWrobotics here!

Find out more at rawrobotics.com.au

On the QUT bluebox challenge

“We're excited by the opportunity to show our skills and see where we sit within the startup community. I love to see what other startups are out there, and also get involved in the community.” Chris begins.

Luke adds, “It's great to be able to participate in something that is QUT, we are all from QUT so it’s a great opportunity to meet other businesses and get that exposure there as well.”

What would it meant to you win the QUT bluebox Challenge?

The team agree winning the Challenge would help the startup achieve more, not just from a funding perspective but also by building connections.

“We're largely trying to establish ourselves here in Queensland and then in Australia. The ability to get some momentum around getting our name out there means people are more likely to be aware of exciting opportunity that we can potentially offer to schools,” Luke said.

Sam added, “One of the things we need to establish right now is a manufacturing chain. If we won a prize from the Challenge, the funds would largely enable us to establish a manufacturing chain. Hopefully that chain would be entirely here in Australia.”

For more information

Contact:

Email: enquiries@qutbluebox.com.au

Phone: +61 7 3138 9420