Robotics mission in Japan with Prince William

Two Bristol-based robotics startups have been chosen to represent 'the best of British innovation' in Japan this week.

The 'Innovation is GREAT' campaign was opened by Prince William in Tokyo earlier today.

The robotics trade mission, put on by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), will hear from inventor Joel Gibbard, of Open Bionics, and Reach Robotics founder Silas Adekunle.

Both Joel and Silas, whose businesses are based inside the Bristol Robotics Laboratory's Tech Incubator, will showcase their inventions. 

Silas will demonstrate his spider-like 'battle' robot at the opening campaign event, and Joel will present his latest 3D printed robotic hand.

The UKTI hopes to strengthen the working relationship between academics and businesses in Japan and Britain.

A spokesperson for the British embassy said Joel is proof that 'harnessing entrepreneurial skills and design principles can lead to the development of life-changing products.'

The campaign is designed to to drive innovation, research and development, and commercial partnerships between the academic and business sectors.

A spokesperson from British Embassy said: "Great ideas flourish in Great Britain. The highest standard of universities, a well established business environment and governance, government support and incentives help make creative ideas come to life."

The UK is known for its entrepreneurship and spirit of innovation. Our discoveries, inventions and ideas have a profound impact on the world. Famous entrepreneurs include James Dyson and Richard Branson, and famous British inventions include the worldwide web, the automated teller machine (ATM), the wind-up radio which has helped share vital information in protecting against infectious diseases, and the wonder-material graphene.

Joel Gibbard demonstrating bionic hand in Japan

'Innovation is GREAT' is a year-long campaign by the British Government to build partnerships between the United Kingdom and Japan to lead positive social change in the future. The British Embassy Tokyo is launching its campaign on the occasion of the Duke of Cambridge’s visit to Japan by showcasing the best of British innovation at a series of launch events.

Joel will also give a talk at the University of Tokyo later this week about how design and innovation can be used for social change. Find out more here: