How a California Startup Is Leading the Way in Home Robotics

The future is happening right here in the Golden State.


For those of us who grew up watching The Jetsons on television, the idea of a home robot isn’t too unfathomable. Rosie was part nanny, chef, housecleaner and confidant to the futuristic family of four. Well into the 21st century, home robotics are less the stuff of cartoon fiction and closer to reality. And one business is California is leading the way.

Much more than a toy and more sophisticated then a Roomba, the telepresence robots created by OhmniLabs in Santa Clara could change the way we interact with robots at home. With the help of 3-D technology, this young company is creating robots with family needs in mind, particularly caring for the elderly.

Ohmni is designed from the ground up with simplicity in mind. To set up, users can just unfold Ohmni, press the power button and connect to your home Wi-Fi. Share access by inviting family and friends by email address or Google or Facebook account. They can use Chrome browser on any Mac/PC or Android device to connect to Ohmni from anywhere in the world and interact freely by controlling Ohmni with the keys, trackpad or touch controls.

“Families today are often spread out across countries and continents, making it a challenge to stay in touch,” says co-founder and CEO Thuc Vu. “We created a robot that people can use everyday to not only communicate but experience life together. The possibilities are endless. I use Ohmni with my grandma in Vietnam and it’s amazing how natural our interaction is.”

According to Vu in a story published by, the OhmniLabs robots are also being created locally, a huge step forward for the state. “We have a very unique production pipeline based on adaptive manufacturing technology. And with recent breakthroughs in the field, we believe the cost would come down very quickly and become very competitive instead of just sending it to China. It allows us to iterate much faster and we can roll out a new model every week,” he said.

Tour the offices and read the full feature here.

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