Yuequan Bionic (月泉仿生), a startup developing bionic robots, has closed an angel round of financing valued at tens of millions of yuan, led by Qihang Capital, affiliated with ZGC Group.
Proceeds raised from this round will be employed to facilitate the commercialization of bionic humanoid robotic systems and core components.
Fine motor skills such as spinning a pen, threading a needle, playing a magic cube, playing poker cards and turning a page, which are seen mostly in humans, can now be controlled through bionic robotic hands.
“We’ve done a lot of innovative work in bionic humanoid, hand and mechanical arm,” said Ren Lei, co-founder of Yuequan Bionic. “Based on the theory and technology of bionic tension-compression robotics, we’ve acquired more than 200 global and domestic patents.”
The Beijing-based startup was founded in November 2022 by Ren and Ren Luquan (unrelated), a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who also teaches at Jilin University.
Ren Lei also teaches at the university and is professor emeritus of The University of Manchester.
Photos courtesy of Yuequan Bionic
Unlike the rigid structure seen often in traditional robots, Yuequan Bionic has set a new path.
It came up with a tension-compression flexible coupling system, which imitates the smart characteristics of human bones and muscles.
This feature allows the innovation to possess a high degree of locomotion and agility while also accommodating stability.
“Our bionic humanoid robots are not just simple anatomical models, instead, they seek to replicate the functions of human bones and muscles,” said Ren.
Utilizing the coupling system, Yuequan Bionic’s robots adopt “all in one” flexible drive motors. Thanks to this technology, its bionic robots are capable of repeating human movement.
Besides, the robots consume only one to two times as many energies as humans, and far less than what it needed to power joint-driven humanoids.
To date, Yuequan Bionic has rolled out a series of key sub-systems related to bionic robotics, including 3D regidity bionic feet, adaptive bionic ankle, electro-hydraulic impulse knee, bipedal lower-extremity humanoid, and robotic hand and arm.
These sub-systems, especially those governing hand movement, guide robots to grip and press items.
In addition, they are able to execute 27 different fine motor skills of the hand, such as picking small objects using chopsticks, rubbing skincare cream, stirring coffee, and swiping a mobile phone.
These functions are considered enough for coping with day-to-day life scenarios, said Yuequan Bionic.
The company’s researchers are working primarily on robotic parts essential to humanoid robotics, spanning high-power and high-density micromotor, bionic artificial muscle actuator, flexible force feedback sensor and artificial ligament.
According to Yuequan Bionic, its goal is not just to develop humanoid robots per se, but also to become a supplier of core parts and technologies in this field.