The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities hosted its third University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase last week. Squishy Robotics is the first UC Berkeley-affiliated start-up chosen to participate in this annual event that spotlights companies that grew out of federally funded, university-based research. Only 22 companies were selected this year.
Squishy Robotics builds rapidly deployable, airdroppable, mobile sensor robots that provide lifesaving, cost-saving information in real time, enabling first responders to make faster, better-informed data-driven decisions. The company’s robots, which can be deployed by drones and other aerial vehicles, provide first responders with location and chemical sensor data as well as the visual information needed to safely plan a mitigation response, all from a safe distance away from the “hot zones.”
Squishy Robotics CEO Dr. Alice Agogino is the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. The company’s robots grew out of her research on tensegrity robotic landing and roving spacecraft for planetary exploration funded by a grant from the NASA Ames Research Center.
The Bayh-Dole Act, which was passed 40 years ago, significantly increased and accelerated the transfer of federally funded university discoveries to the marketplace. “Squishy Robotics is a wonderful example of how the Bayh-Dole Act fosters and promotes young start-ups that build on university research and create companies that commercialize exciting products and technologies,” said Agogino. “In addition to the NASA grant, our company has benefited from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps program as well as from NSF-funded Small Business Innovation Research grants, or SBIRs.”
Agogino and Squishy Robotics COO Deniz Dogruer were originally slated to demonstrate the company’s rapidly deployable mobile sensor robots to members of Congress and representatives from various federal agencies in Washington D.C., however the showcase was changed to virtual event because of COVID-19. Agogino and Dogruer hope to schedule virtual meetings with elected officials and staff members in the following weeks.
This video was made to show to Congress in lieu of an in-person event due to COVID-29: Squishy Robotics video for I&E Showcase
Featured Image: Berkeley Government and Community Relations Newsletter, 12-2010.