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Funding Hits $100M for OpenAI’s Household Humanoid

OpenAI Household Humanoid Funding

A humanoid has just taken a step into consumer homes after robot manufacturer 1x raised a cool $100 million.

The Norwegian startup will spend the funds on bringing an android called Neo to market. The biped is designed for everyday household tasks, from doing laundry to tidying up.

“The once distant dream of having a smart and versatile home assistant is becoming a reality,” Bernt Øivind Børnich, CEO of 1X, told TNW.

Børnich co-founded 1X in 2014. He envisions the company producing commercial androids. that benefit society and satisfy labor demand. To achieve those combined goals, robots are designed to work alongside people, freeing up our time and improving global living standards.

The first droid tasked with this task was Eve, which was developed for business applications. The two-wheeler first came into operation last year. Since she joined the workforce, Eve has proven to be particularly adept at logistics and warehouse surveillance.

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Neo has broader ambitions. The general-purpose bot is built to fit into our daily lives as an intelligent assistant.

To facilitate that transition, 1X gave Neo several human attributes. He resembles us in shape, height (165 cm) and range of motion. He also has dexterous hands, which can deadlift or squat 75kg. But what makes Neo truly unique among humanoids is that he is not an industrial machine.

“It is soft like us, lightweight and inherently safe, with no pinch points or other hazards, which is crucial for us to pursue our vision of deploying safe and useful robots for consumers,” Brnich said.

An Open Connection with AI

Neo learns new household tasks through a technique called embodied AI. This allows machines to acquire skills by interacting with their environment.

Customers can also manually move the bot with a virtual reality headset and controllers. They can even chat with Neo, which has conversational functionality that Brnich compares to ChatGPT.

That comparison may not be a coincidence. OpenAI was a leading investor in the 1X Series A raise of $23.5 million last year.

The partnership with OpenAI has been crucial in providing insight into future developments and trends in AI,” said Brnich.

“Having them as a strong partner significantly helped our approach on the Neo project, particularly in solving problems related to cloning human thought and behavior in a machine.

Financing Plans

The latest cash injection comes from a Series B round. Investors include EQT Enterprises, a venture capital firm that previously backed startups including Varjo and Einride.

“The prospect of androids assimilating into the workforce seems like a reality far from the world of science fiction,” said Ted Persson, a partner at the firm.

“But as we talked to more and more people, a picture emerged that this would actually happen in the next five to seven years. 1X is moving toward a reality where robots don’t just exist in movies or assembly lines but walk among us, improving our workplaces and our lives.”

With an extra $100 million in the wallet, that reality is getting closer. Børnich did not reveal an expected release date but expects Neo pre-orders to open “in a short period of time.”


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