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Forcen secures $6.1M to scale up production of advanced force/torque sensing for robotics

Forcen, a Toronto-based pioneer in force/torque sensing technology, has recently closed a funding round of CAD $8.35 million (USD $6.1 million). This investment positions the company to accelerate the production of its cutting-edge sensing solutions, enabling more customers to leverage its advanced capabilities in surgical, logistics, humanoid, and space robotics applications.



"We've been focused on delivering custom solutions showcasing our world-first technology with world-class quality … and we're excited for our customers to announce the robots they've been working on with our technology," stated Robert Brooks, founder and CEO of Forcen. "Providing custom solutions has limited the number of customers we take on, but now we're working to change that."

Founded in 2015 with the goal of empowering businesses to easily deploy "(super)human" robotic manipulation in complex and unstructured applications, Forcen's technology has already gained traction, moving into production with several customers across various domains.


Enabling Rapid Adoption with Customizable and Off-the-Shelf Offerings 

Forcen's new funding will fuel the company's efforts to scale up production and support a broader customer base through two distinct pathways: a rapidly customizable offering and off-the-shelf development kits.

The rapidly customizable offering leverages generative design and standard subassemblies, allowing customers to select the size, sensing range/sensitivity, overload protection, mounting bolt pattern, and connector type/location. Forcen aims to fulfill these customized orders within four to six weeks, replacing the traditional lengthy catalog of sensors and enabling customers to obtain precisely what they need for their unique applications.

Later this year, Forcen will also launch its off-the-shelf development kits, covering three degrees of freedom (DoF) and 6 DoF force/torque sensors, as well as Forcen's cross-roller, bearing-free 3 DoF joint torque sensor and 3 DoF gripper finger. These development kits will provide customers with readily available solutions to accelerate their robotics development efforts.


Pioneering Technologies for Complex Robotics Applications 

Complex and unstructured robotics applications present unique challenges for conventional force/torque sensing technologies, including the risk of repeated impact/overload, wide temperature ranges/changes, and extreme constraints on size and weight. Forcen's "full-stack" sensing systems are designed to address these challenges through three core proprietary technologies:

  1. ForceFilm: A monolithic thin-film transducer enabling lighter, thinner, and more stable sensing systems across drift and temperature variations. Forcen claims this technology is highly scalable for multi-dimensional sensing.
  2. Dedicated Overload: A 6 DoF hard stop protection structure that allows sensitivity and overload protection to be designed separately, enabling durable use of the overload structure for thousands of events while still achieving millions of sensing cycles.
  3. Synap: Forcen's onboard edge intelligence comes factory compensated/calibrated and can connect to any standard digital bus (USB, CAN, Ethernet, EtherCAT). This creates a truly plug-and-play, maintenance/calibration-free force/torque sensing solution.


Investor Confidence and Industry Recognition 

Forcen's funding round was co-led by Brightspark Ventures and BDC Capital's Deep Tech Venture Fund, with participation from Garage Capital, MaRS IAF, and returning investors such as EmergingVC.

"Robotic vision has undergone a revolution over the past decade and is continuing to accelerate with new AI approaches," said Mark Skapinker, co-founder and partner at Brightspark Ventures. "We expect robotic manipulation to quickly follow in the footsteps of robotic vision, and Forcen's technology to be a key enabler of ubiquitous human-level robotic manipulation."

Forcen will be showcasing its latest advancements at the Robotics Summit & Expo in Boston this week, with live demonstrations in Booth 113. Additionally, CEO Robert Brooks will be delivering a talk on "Designing (Super)Human-Level Haptic Sensing for Surgical Robotics" on May 1 at 4:15 p.m. EDT.

With its cutting-edge technology, strong investor backing, and industry recognition, Forcen is poised to drive the adoption of advanced force/torque sensing solutions, enabling robots to operate with unprecedented dexterity and precision in the most demanding applications.

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