Q-Bot Limited has won best start-up at the Invention and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation Awards held at a major international industry conference in Seattle, US.
Judges at the Joint Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation were impressed both by the cutting edge robotics technology developed by the company and the social impact of its innovation.
Q-Bot uses a robot inserted through an air vent to survey and apply insulation to the underside of floorboards. Previously, the only way to insulate floorboards was to lift them – an expensive and disruptive procedure.
Tom Lipinski, founder director of Q-Bot Ltd, said:
A UK start-up winning a world entrepreneurship award in robotics might sound odd – we consider Japan as the leader in robotics and the US the leader in enterprise. However, very little of current robotics is being applied in real life, especially in the US. With Q-Bot we are helping to reduce fuel poverty and improve lives while saving energy and helping the environment.
The system has already been trialled with a number of social housing clients including Camden Council, Peabody and CityWest Homes.
It is cost-effective, reduces draughts and uneven temperatures. According to Q-Bot it saves between £200 and £300 a year in energy bills.
Q-Bot is now talking to private investors to secure further funding that will allow it to meet the demand it has identified for its service.
Retrofitting buildings to improve their energy efficiency and help the UK to meet its climate change targets is a major issue for the construction industry.
Innovate UK is supporting innovative ways of meeting this challenge through its Low Impact Building Innovation Platform, which has invested £79 million in more than 500 innovative business projects since its establishment in 2008.
Q-Bot Ltd has won support from Innovate UK – through the innovation platform and other funding programmes including Retrofit for the Future – and the Welsh Government through SBRI, for a number of projects to develop its robotics technology into a commercial product.
None of this would have happened without Innovate UK. We identified the problem through the Retrofit for the Future programme, and Innovate UK has supported us at every stage since, from proof of concept to where we are now. It’s allowed us to sit down and look at all the options, all the consequences and all the risks.