(Silicon Hills News) — The Center for Innovation at the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin helps professor-led startups find funding, partnerships, customers, apply for grants, and form companies. Every month, the center hosts the Professor StARTup Studio to showcase new companies. At the December Studio, Professor Luis Sentis pitched Apptronik, which creates the guts of NASA’s bipedal humanoid Valkyrie robot. The company has four patents and more pending on its high-performance robotic actuators, embedded electronics, and real-time control software. “We are focused on making system level, mission ready capable robots,” Sentis said.
Sentis also leads the Human Centered Robotics Laboratory at UT Austin, and he served as the lead for DARPA’s Robotics Challenge with NASA Johnson Space Center. He has raised $3.7 million in funding for robotics research through research grants with the Office of Naval Research, NASA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and others. In addition to the humanoid robots, Apptronik is creating exoskeletons for applications in the healthcare industry to allow disabled people to walk and move easily without a wheelchair.Tags: DARPA, Human Centered Robotics laboratory, Luis Sentis, NASA, robotics, UT Austin, Valkyrie