Artificial Intelligence


By Lottie


January 2024

OpenAI's £78M Investment in 1X's Humanoid Robotics


In a significant development within the tech industry, OpenAI has taken a notable step by investing in the burgeoning field of humanoid robotics. This investment, amounting to $100 million, is directed towards 1X, a Norwegian company at the forefront of AI and robotics innovation. This financial commitment from OpenAI is a clear indication of the increasing relevance and potential of humanoid robotics in today's technology landscape.

This funding is particularly crucial in the context of 1X's development of Neo, an advanced humanoid robot. Neo represents an intersection of advanced robotics and artificial intelligence, marking a substantial advancement in the field. This initiative signals a growing interest in the development of robots that not only resemble humans in form but can also integrate seamlessly into various human-centric environments.

The involvement of OpenAI, a leader in AI research, in this project, adds a layer of anticipation and excitement to the evolution of Neo and reflects a broader trend in the tech world towards more sophisticated, AI-integrated robotic solutions. This move is not just a financial investment; it's a significant nod towards the future of humanoid robotics, hinting at a new era where such robots are more deeply integrated into different aspects of our lives and work.

The Rising Wave of Humanoid Robotics

The recent $100 million investment in 1X by OpenAI and other investors marks a significant surge in the development of humanoid robotics. This sector is rapidly evolving, with companies like Figure also advancing in the race to create commercially viable humanoid robots. The figure, for instance, is working on a robot called Figure 01, standing 5 foot 6 inches tall and capable of lifting 44 lbs, illustrating the diverse approaches companies are taking in this field​​.

Neo and EVE: Pioneers in Humanoid Robotics

1X's humanoid robot, Neo, is a groundbreaking development in this space. Weighing about 30 kg and standing 167 cm tall, Neo is designed to be inherently safe and capable of performing a variety of tasks alongside humans. This positions Neo not just as an industrial tool but as a potential household companion.

In addition to Neo, 1X has developed EVE, a wheeled robot primarily used in logistics and security applications. EVE demonstrates the practical applications of humanoid robots in current industrial settings, providing valuable insights into the potential of these technologies in everyday environments​​.

Addressing the Labor Shortage with Robotics

A significant aspect of the development of humanoid robots like Neo and EVE is their potential to address global labour shortages. Bernt Øivind Børnich, the CEO of 1X, envisions a future where sustainable energy production transforms the concept of labour scarcity, with humanoid robots playing a crucial role in this transition. The deployment of AI-enabled humanoid robots could significantly alleviate labour shortages in various sectors within the next five years​.

The Future of Humanoid Robotics

The future of humanoid robotics is not just limited to industrial and household applications. These technologies could redefine how we approach labour and productivity in society. The success of humanoid robots in performing a broad set of tasks safely and efficiently could mark the beginning of a new era in technology and human-machine interaction.

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Challenges and Ethical Considerations

However, the development and deployment of humanoid robots come with its own set of challenges and ethical considerations. Ensuring the safety of these robots in human environments, addressing potential job displacement issues, and dealing with the ethical implications of AI and robotics are critical areas that companies like 1X and OpenAI are focusing on.

OpenAI's Role in Advancing Humanoid Robotics

OpenAI's involvement in humanoid robotics, particularly through its investment in 1X, signals a renewed interest in embodied intelligence. This collaboration could bring significant advancements in the field, leveraging OpenAI's expertise in AI and machine learning to enhance the capabilities of humanoid robots like Neo and EVE.


The investment in 1X and the development of Neo highlight the immense potential of humanoid robotics. As this technology continues to evolve, it will likely have a profound impact on various sectors, reshaping our understanding of labour, productivity, and human-machine collaboration. For tech startups and enthusiasts, this field offers exciting opportunities

and opportunities, particularly in AI and robotics. The field is not only advancing technologically but also sparking important conversations about the future interaction between humans and machines.

As we look forward, the developments in humanoid robotics, particularly those led by companies like 1X with the backing of OpenAI, represent a significant leap in technology. These advancements not only showcase the potential for innovation in addressing current challenges but also open doors to new possibilities in the way we live and work.

For tech startups, this is an exciting time. The progress in humanoid robotics, exemplified by Neo and EVE, offers a glimpse into future applications that can revolutionise various industries. As these technologies continue to evolve, they present a unique opportunity for startups to innovate and contribute to this dynamic field.

In conclusion, the journey into the era of humanoid robotics is just beginning, with companies like 1X and OpenAI leading the way. This investment and technological advancement signal a transformative phase in robotics, promising significant impacts on society and the economy. It's an exhilarating time for tech startups and enthusiasts alike to be part of this revolution.

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