The startup from Turin ALBA Robot at the GITEX event in Dubai

October 26, 2021
The first augmented mobility personal vehicle integrated with Amazon Alexa and the SEDIA prototype represented Turin in the UAE.

Last week, in Dubai, the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition Technology Week (GITEX) took place, an exhibition of technological innovation in the fields of information and communication, and Torino was there thanks to the participation of ALBA Robot. The startup, created “under the Mole”, realized two prototypes of smart wheelchairs, aimed at improving independence and the way people with reduced mobility move thanks to the presence of voice assistants, robotic components and Internet of Things.

ALBA Robot, the acronym for Advanced Light Body Assistant, is an Amazon Alexa and Techstars portfolio company that has formed strategic partnerships with Teoresi, an international company specialized in technology development and systems integration engineering services, STMicroelectronics for electronic component development, and Dussmann for go-to-market strategy.

The model equipped with Amazon Alexa voice assistant, has been realized thanks to the involvement, in addition to the Amazon Alexa team, of companies such as Moschini, Teoresi, STMicroelectronics, OTIS, Torino Wireless and R.Zenti and was officially presented two years ago at the Presidio San Camillo in Torino. The vehicle is self-driving, can reach a maximum speed of 6 km/h and is able to communicate directly with enabled elevators, thanks to the collaboration with OTIS. It can also receive voice requests and provide directions and information through Alexa, and can be remotely controlled to be moved and returned to a specific point in a building when not in use, features that are particularly useful in facilities such as hospitals, museums, airports, and stations.

The second model is called SEDIA – SEat Designed for Interactive Arts, it has been designed in collaboration with the Turin-based mobility design consultancy Granstudio and has been produced by Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, a leading Austrian furniture design company. SEDIA is a micro-mobility service that can be activated in museums and consists of a series of innovative seats that facilitate movement within the exhibition areas, offering a complete and unhindered enjoyment of the artistic and architectural heritage. SEDIA is essentially a mobile chair dedicated to those who have difficulty walking or those who cannot stand for prolonged periods of time. 

Serena De Mori, Product Manager at ALBA Robot, said: "We are proud to have participated in GITEX, the largest technology event and one of the main annual exhibitions dedicated to information and communication technologies in the EMEA/APAC area. This is an opportunity to create the ideal habitat and network to stimulate the most innovative initiatives of global entrepreneurship. The two projects present at the fair are also a response to the forecasts of the IFR (International Federation of Robotics), which states an increase in the diffusion of service robots, due both to their integration with other technologies, in particular artificial intelligence, and machine learning, and to their diffusion in an increasing number of application fields. In particular, great opportunities will open up in the medical sector, also thanks to the expiry of US patents, and in assistance to the weakest whose demand is rising in line with the progressive aging of the population".

In the coming months, both SEDIA and the self-driving vehicle will begin to be used in some test spaces in Torino thanks to the collaboration with Torino City Lab, the GAM, Palazzo Madama museums, and Torino Caselle airport. By 2021, the technology is expected to be validated in hospitals and airports, so that commercialization can begin in Italy. The next 12 months will serve ALBA Robot to consolidate its presence in the Italian market and then begin the approach to the European and U.S. markets.

Photo credit: ALBA Robot

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Luca Coppolella
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