This paper aims to present a “Q&A interview” conducted by Joanne Pransky of Industrial Robot Journal as a method to impart the combined technological, business and personal experiences of a prominent robotic industry engineer-turned entrepreneur regarding the evolution, commercialisation and challenges of bringing a technological invention to market.
The interviewee is Rich Walker, the Managing Director at the Shadow Robot Company in London, UK. Rich Walker joined the Shadow team before going to University, and in this interview, he describes his 25-year journey with the company.
While he was studying mathematics at Cambridge, Rich Walker's passion for cutting edge robotics led him to write software in 1989, unpaid, as part of a team at the pioneering the Shadow Robot Company. Walker was soon involved in developing robotic hands based on pneumatic muscles, which resulted in eight patents, with Walker named as one of the inventors. Walker and the small team have since grown Shadow to become a thriving global business that designs and manufactures state-of-the-art anthropomorphic robot hands and related systems, with 20 R&D and production engineers in London, Brest and Shanghai.
Walker's experiences with a small entrepreneurial robot start-up has led him not only to become a leader at Shadow for new robotics applications but he is also active in developing and implementing European projects, and he consults as an expert in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and innovators.
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