Dear Poppy users, members, followers,
The Poppy project was born in 2012 during my Phd thesis. Since then, the project has grown tremendously and far beyond our initial expectations. A community of robotics enthusiasts has gathered around the project and lately a team of up to 8 people worked full time on the project – improving the technologies, maintaining the community, and bringing Poppy into Education.
All this development has a cost, which was mainly supported by Inria, a public French research institute, along with other public funds from Europe and Région Aquitaine. The project was hosted at the Inria Bordeaux site within the Flowers Team. But, as you can understand, maintaining Poppy as a robotic tool for communities is not a long term core mission of Inria.
As such, after 4 years of continuous support, Inria fundings for the core development of Poppy will slowly end. Yet, of course, research projects using Poppy will be continued. But, this is, we hope, not the end of the story!
We strongly believe the Poppy development should be continued with its core values and dreams: building open source technologies to unleash creativity! We are dedicated to keep the project alive and we have spent the last year preparing the future of Poppy as a standalone entity.
So today, it is our pleasure to announce we have launched Pollen Robotics. Pollen Robotics is a start-up founded by @matthieu, @pierre, @jgrizou and @nicolas, designed around the core values of Poppy – developing open source technologies for the creation, use, and sharing of robots. So why that name Pollen? And why a company?
Why Pollen? Because we want to spread the world with open technologies! We are inspired by the idea of planting seeds of creativity in various communities with simple, intuitive, and open technologies.
Why a company? Because we are working on open hardware. We have thought about all scenarios, creating an association, a foundation, or moving onto other jobs and pursuing Poppy on our free time. Yet, we came to the conclusion that the best way was to create a company. Indeed, while Poppy is an open source and community centered project, Poppy is not just about software. It requires a lot of research and development in hardware products, which is a quite expensive endeavour that only a company can accomplish.
What will become Poppy? Poppy will remain the project name, Pollen Robotics will only takes the current place of Inria as a juridic and official entity to hold the trademarks associated with Poppy and financing the open source development of the project.
We are aware that seeing the project leave a public research lab to become a private company can raise concerns and questions. We have also been tormented about this but we think it is the only way to fulfil our vision and have a more powerful impact into society.
In practice, nothing will change, we are the same people, with the same personal values and the same goals: developing open source technologies to democratize robotics and promote collaboration between and within multidisciplinary communities. With always one rule: be fully transparent about our activities to the world.
We see this new step in the project as an amazing opportunity to make a difference in how robotics is perceived and used. We have many projects in progress and we are working on several prototypes who will change the way we create robots. But this new step is also a challenge and a risk for us as individuals. It is our time, money, and personal life that we are engaging into that adventure. But ultimately, our driving force is to discover all the fascinating and surprising projects made by you using Poppy technologies.
So let the Poppy story continue! We know there will be hard times growing such a start-up, but we are thrilled and excited by this new challenge. Our dream is to make a positive impact into the world and unleash creativity at an unprecedented scale.
We are thankful for your support and we hope we will travel far together. Please feel free to speak your mind about Pollen here, from anxiety or doubts to excitements and thoughts, any feedback is, as always, very welcomed.