Robotics startup Vincross today announced the close of a $10 million funding round led by Lenovo. The funds will be used to expand the Vincross line of robotics, starting with Mind Kit, a collection of essential parts hobbyists and tinkerers can configure to make versatile robots capable of completing a range of tasks — like playing the drums, seasoning your food, and crawling into cramped spaces.
Add-on accessories for Mind Kit include lidar and infrared vision, robotic arms, and speakers, as well as wheels and tank-like parts to help the robot get around.
The company will also be expanding its robotic range in future.
“We’re doing companionship robots that will come out later this year,” COO Andy Xu told VentureBeat in a phone interview.
Mind Kit, which runs on a lithium-ion battery and Arm Cortex-A53 processor, is preceded by Hexa, a six-legged robot from Vincross that debuted in 2016.
Both Hexa and Mind Kit are run by the Mind robot operating system, which can be used to custom code robots to carry out specific tasks. As with Hexa, users can share ways to create new robots in the Mind OS forum.
Since Mind OS can be controlled with preconfigured templates or custom code, Vincross is made for developers and technologists who want a sandbox for learning more about robotics, Xu said.
Vincross is based in Beijing, and Xu said this gives it an advantage over many hardware startups in other parts of the world.
“Being based in China, I think a very big advantage is we can do product prototyping very fast compared to what you see in California in the U.S. With the factories in Shenzhen, we can do a quick prototype of our product in less than two weeks, and that’s a big advantage in the hardware industry,” he said.
Lenovo led the $10 million funding round, with participation from GGV Capital and Seek Dource. Vincross has raised $17 million to date.
The company was established in April 2014 and currently has 50 employees.