Consequential Robotics is a service-robotics startup developing solutions for applications in homecare, health, education, and lifestyle. Founded by the leading UK consumer product designer, Sebastian Conran, Professor Tony Prescott, Director of the Sheffield Robotics research institute, and biomimetic roboticist Dr Ben Mitchinson, the company’s main focus is developing assistive robotic systems that will enhance quality of life as people age.
Consequential Robotics delivers the best of British & international design and engineering to the development of next generation consumer and commercial robots. We aim to create new robot platforms that are inclusively designed, attractive, effective and helpful, with the long-term aim to enhance the quality of human life.
Our emphasis is on understanding how people will use robots in their lives at home, at work, and in shared spaces. Robots will be the eyes, ears and hands of the intelligent house or the smart office, designed to work quietly, safely and unobtrusively; complementing and assisting people not to replacing them. Working closely with our academic and industrial collaborators, Consequential employs the latest artificial intelligence, navigation, mechatronic, human-machine interface, rapid prototyping and flexible manufacturing technologies to create robots that are likeable, reliable, and easy to use.
Building on biomimetics: Consequential is pioneering a bio-inspired or biomimetic approach to robot control that leads to graceful, expressive and intrinsically safe behaviour in robots by understanding the principles underlying intelligent behaviour in humans and animals, and reinventing these in elegant and novel robot designs.
Appropriate autonomy: Our robots will have the right level of intelligence for the tasks they perform and intuitive interfaces that make use of spoken word, gesture recognition, and are interfaced to the wireless world of cloud computing. A focus on power efficiency, self-homing and recharging capabilities mean our robots will be ready and available when users need them.
Human-Centered design: Understanding the practical needs of our users as well as their emotional wants and dreams. Building fulfilling relationships between people & devices by developing engaging personalities for assistive technology.
Who we are
An engineer at heart, Sebastian has design in the blood. Focused on designing technologies to make them more emotionally engaging. He is passionate about creating thoughtful and elegant products that are satisfying to use. He believes ‘form follows fabrication’ and that one must thoroughly understand how things are to be made and experienced before you put pencil to paper.
As CEO of Consequential Robotics and Sebastian Conran Associates design studio, Sebastian takes a hands-on, down-to-earth approach to all his design projects, sharing his wealth experience and manufacturing expertise with the design team. The studio’s designs have received many awards for design and innovation as well as being granted over fifty patents and design patents in various fields. From working in the Habitat design studio in the 1970’s to founding the Consequential Robotics in 2015, Sebastian's life has been focused on understanding how things are made, sold, used and experienced.
As well as creating ingenious, stylish and satisfying products, he is visiting Professor of Design and Innovation at Bristol Robotics Lab and Designer in Residence at the University of Sheffield’s engineering faculty.
Prof. Tony Prescott MA MSc PhD FBPsS
Co-Founder and Director
Tony is a world leading researcher in biomimetic robotics with over twenty-five years experience spanning psychology, neuroscience, AI and robotics. With his collaborators he has developed a variety of animal-like robotic systems, including the whiskered robots Scratchbot and Shrewbot that were the technological ancestors of our MiRo robot.
Tony originally graduated in psychology before studying for a Masters in applied AI and completing a PhD in machine learning. His current research focuses on human-robot interaction and brain-inspired social cognition for robots. In 2011, Tony co-founded Sheffield Robotics, an institute with more than 200 active researchers, which he currently directs, he also holds a Chair in Cognitive Robotics at the University of Sheffield. He was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 2011, in recognition of his contribution to that discipline, and was a 2018 Distinguished Fellow at the Sage Centre for the Study of Mind in Santa Barbara, California.
Tony’s academic research has generated more than 250 publications including the OUP “Handbook of Living Machines” and the Springer “Scholarpedia of Touch”. His research has received more than £7M in funding with current support from the European Union’s Human Brain Project and the Wellcome Trust. Tony’s role at Consequential Robotics includes being the interface to the international developer community exploring the potential for social robots in education, therapy, and healthcare.
Dr Ben Mitchinson BSc MSc PhD
Co-Founder and CTO
Mitch has spent the last fifteen years studying both animals and automatic control systems, in parallel. His background is the physical sciences and engineering, within which he has broad experience of all things artificial. In software alone, he is familiar with more than twenty programming languages (and has written a couple). His passion is to bring those artificial systems to life - seeking links between biological and human-designed control systems and morphologies, and taking advantage of those links both to advance our understanding of animals and, at the same time, to begin to breathe life into our machines. Along the way, he spent quite a lot of time studying whiskers, so he has a soft spot for any animal sporting a set - which, as it turns out, is most of them.
David Lane CBE
David brings thirty-five years of emerging technology and commercial experience in robotics to drive the company’s strategic leadership in education and healthcare. David is passionate about robotics and AI (RAI) and transforming its rich research into useful products and services that serve today’s unmet needs. His breadth of entrepreneurship includes leading technology startups into high-growth businesses which earned him the 2011 Praxis-Unico Business Impact Achieved Award, the 2013 Scottish Digital Technology Award for International Growth and the 2019 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Champion Award.
Originally trained as an electrical engineer and scientist, David has published over 300 papers in international journals and conferences, including creating and co-ordinating international multi-party RAI hubs and projects (ORCAHUB winner of the 2018 Guardian University Business Collaboration Award). With many strings to his bow, he is also the founding Director and Professor in the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, works alongside a range of venture capitalists and supports multi-national government-funded projects to develop RAI businesses from the research. David was appointed CBE in 2016 for services to engineering.
Our research partners
Consequential Robotics works with a range of UK and International partners to design and develop next generation robotic systems.
Sheffield Robotics - Our lead research and academic collaborator is Sheffield Robotics, combining expertise across two Universities, Sheffield Robotics includes over one hundred active researchers.
Tharsus - UK based specialist developers and manufacturers of robotic systems
Buzzamo - California based electronic systems developers
Gadget Lab - Production engineers and quality control specialists
Inclusiviti - UK based specialists in developing & supplying assistive technology