Female-lead, Australian tech start-up Tekuma are changing the way humans interact with technology, thanks to the first round of Australian Government funding through the Boosting Female Founders Initiative.
Co-founder Annette McClelland received $150,000 towards tooling and manufacturing for Tekuma’s patented control orb.
Designed by her husband and co-founder Michael Griffin, the unique tactile control orb completely revolutionises remote control systems for drones, robots and other devices, providing the user with a force-based, six-degrees-of-freedom controller that can be operated with as little as two fingers.
The robust system is completely portable and can be integrated into any device that needs to be controlled with more than two degrees of motion.
“We talked to bomb disposal experts at the AVALON Air Show in 2018 and found that our technology could be really useful for their robots, particularly because it is sensitive enough to allow the user to have the fidelity and dexterity to manipulate a robotic arm around a bomb, allowing them to safely disable them,” McClelland said.
“We have also been in discussion about using the technology with weapon systems that have a multi-axis control mechanism, as well as implementing our controller into multi-sensor systems controlled with a single device,” Griffin explained.
The team, initially based in Sydney, travelled to South Australia in 2018 to take part in the Venture Catalyst Space program through Uni SA’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre before formally relocating in 2020 to take advantage of South Australia’s thriving defence and space sectors.
Now established at the centre of the growing defence industry, Tekuma is looking into providing controllers to various supply chain SMEs for use in training systems, weapons control and bomb disposal.
“We came to South Australia to better access the defence and space ecosystem that exists here,” McClelland said.
“Also, the liveability in Adelaide means that we could afford to move out of our parents’ houses and buy a home where we could continue working to build the company.”
“Now we have secured desk space at the ThincLab Adelaide after taking part in the Biogen Neurohack with the University of Adelaide, we can continue to work on getting our product out there.”
The powerhouse wife and husband team developed Tekuma in 2016 after identifying a need for more user-friendly controllers for drones and other robotics and have since been working to drag joystick technology into the 21st century.
To read the full article, click here.
We’re improving how humans physically interact with technology. Our first product allows users to operate six-degrees of freedom entirely with two fingers. We have implemented it to control drones, underwater rovers, and multi-directional robots. It frees up your other hand to control a peripheral or other device enabling access for those with limited dexterity and mobility. As two founders we currently own the entirety of our company as we have since we started over 5 years ago in Sydney. Having recently been awarded the Boosting Female Founders Grant we are currently doing tooling and manufacturing in South Australia