The full-body powered exoskeleton developer, Sarcost Technology and Robotics Corporation, has acquired fellow remote-operated robotics company RE2. The total transaction is $100 million, consisting of $30 million in cash, which Sarcos will fund with cash on hand, and $70 million of Sarcos common stock. This leaves the company with $217 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents. The company also announced some upgrades to the Guardian XO Beta:
Functionality testing of key elements of the first Beta Guardian XO exoskeleton is also under way, with controls algorithms enabling the unit to balance on its own tested successfully late in 2021. In recent weeks, the team has been testing a new lower body, which includes the ability to adjust the legs to accommodate a wider range of user heights.
Self-balancing control can increase the usability of the Guardian XO, especially if it can minimize slips and unforeseen to the exo user disturbances. Accommodating a wider range of users is never a bad thing either. Unfortunately, the upgrades will delay the final Guardian XO Beta unit testing.
As the development team began to complete final assembly of the initial Beta unit in early 2022, it became clear that adjustments would be required to reduce both the weight of the suit and the number of bespoke components for commercial release. Therefore, in order to optimize the utility of the Guardian XO Beta unit testing, the company chose to make these changes to the Beta unit with the result that the first Beta unit will not now be fully assembled until later in 2022. The company continues to expect that Guardian XO Beta units will be available for testing in the second half of 2022.
On the surface, it seems the technology portfolio of RE2 is better suited for Sarco’s remote devices, such as the Guardian XT remote operating arms and the Guardian S snaking robot. It is plausible, however, that some of RE2’s teleoperation, manipulators, and AI surroundings awareness software can make their way into later versions of the Guadian XO powered exoskeleton.
In the immediate future, the acquisition will give Sarcos additional contracts and capabilities in the realm of mobile dexterous robots for use in industrial environments, with an expansion in the medical and underwater markets. RE2 Founder, President, and CEO Jorgen Pedersen and its 100+ employees will all be retained by Sarcos at the close of the transaction. Pedersen will become Chief Operating Officer for Sarcos.
The combined company expects to advance robotic autonomy in unstructured environments by leveraging RE2’s Detect outdoor computer vision solution and Intellect autonomy software along with the Sarcos Cybernetic Training for Autonomous Robots (CYTAR™) AI and machine learning program.
It is relatively rare to see exoskeleton companies acquire other commercial entities. In March 2016 Bionik Laboratories Merger Agreement With Interactive Motion Technologies, Inc. (IMT), and further back, in December of 2015 In An Aggressive Move, Ekso Bionics Acquired zeroG™ Technology. More recently, in November 2021 Ottobock Acquired suitX, however, that was an example of an orthotics/prosthetics company with an exoskeleton division acquiring another exoskeleton company.
Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation stock is traded under NASDAQ: STRC. The company stock value per share decreased on the announcements in the first two days, then rebounded back, but has once again decreased in the last week ($6.46 pre-announcements, $7.04 one week later, $5.00 as of this article).
- Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation to Acquire RE2, an Award-Winning Developer of Intelligent Mobile Manipulation Systems, March 28, 2022, Sarcos Press Release, link
- Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation Announces Fourth Quarter and Full-year 2021 Financial Results, March 29, 2022, Sarcos Press Release, link