This article was published by OhmniLabs, a member of the Kambria Manufacturing Alliance. Please follow their Blog for more technical content.
We don’t just make robots at OhmniLabs for the sake of making robots. We build robots to connect people — to bring people closer together. We’re using cutting-edge technology not just to innovate (though innovation is crucial to what we do), but to figure out how we can take care of each other in new and better ways. It’s not about the machines — it’s about the impact the machines have on people. That’s why we’ve thought through our manufacturing and production process from start to finish in a way that best serves the people that we seek to connect.
So where does it all start? It all begins at our headquarters in Santa Clara California, where we initialize our product designs. Normally after the design process, if we were like many other companies, we would ship things off to an overseas manufacturer to have things taken care of cheaply for us. But we do things differently. Our product doesn’t leave our doors at this point — instead of outsourcing our manufacturing and production, we keep things close to home.
At OhmniLabs, we take ownership of the entire process, which means everything happens at headquarters, including mechanical, electronics, and software — all the way up to manufacturing. This way, we can ensure that every step abides by our standards of quality. This also translates into full transparency for our customers, who can be sure of exactly what they’re buying, since we’re directly behind every step of the production process. By rejecting convenience and operating according to our mission of quality, affordable home robots for everyone, we stay true to our and our customers’ concerns. It may also be that we just like to finish what we start.
Integral to our manufacturing process is the non-traditional technique of 3D printing, which opens up worlds of customization and manufacturing opportunities. 3D printing allows us to cut costs and stay nimble, which translates to more innovation and affordability for our customers down the line. It also helps us design and iterates faster, since we’re more quickly able to push out prototypes and make instant changes based on what the prototypes tell us works and doesn’t work.
Manufacturing and producing on-site also means that we can solve problems on-site. This means that we can get to problems and fix them faster in the iteration process, leading to more efficient use of time and money. Our local scale keeps us nimble and reactive — it also keeps jobs local and helps us support the community around us. By keeping things close to home, we take part in nurturing the community around us, and we stay true to our reason for creating the robots in the first place — helping people take care of each other.
In that vein of keeping things human, we hand-assemble each robot that leaves our factory. In addition, we’re incorporating materials other than metal and plastic — think fabrics and softer materials — because we realize that the human element to technology is crucial. Just as we have emotional connections to the clothes and jewelry we wear, our furniture and homes, so do we have relationships with technology. We believe in humanized technology, and we’re doing our part to use technology to nurture the human relationships around us.
Also published on Medium.