Meet Bernt Bornich CEO of 1X


Staff member

Interview with Bernt Bornich, CEO of 1X, who makes the bold claim he will beat Tesla in delivering a home humanoid with his Neo robot.

Other startling claims made by Bornich were that when your Neo is not doing anything at home it will be performing experiments to increase its intelligence.

• Bornich and Altman had discussions about embodied AI as far back as 2021 before ChatGPT went mainstream.

•Bornich states Neo can run!

•Neo is designed in a unique way that sets it apart from other humanoid robots currently being developed according to Bornich. Neo is a soft robot similar to the animated character Baymax according to Bornich.

•Being soft, Neo is incredibly safe.

•Bornich admits there are still many unsolved problems in creating a product that offers a good consumer experience.

•1X working closely with OpenAI to create the next generation of AI and package Neo as a consumer product. Working on how to implement a LLM into a physically embodied robot in a way that provides a good experience for the customer.

•1X is vertically integrated with hardware being developed to run their proprietary software. 1X buy no components. All parts for the Neo robot are made in-house from wires, electronics, sensors up to and including software such as the AI stack.

• Manufacturing and automation systems for Neo’s production are made in-house.

•Bornich claims his AI model can do useful work, interact in the real world, including engaging in social interactions, incredibly well for any task.

•Neo will utilise OpenAI’s VLM( Vision Language Model- same one utilised in Loona) which gives Neo a long time horizon.

•Neo will see more multimodal models integrated on top of the LLM and VLM.

•Neo’s AI is completely end to end.

•Neo can be taught new tasks autonomously by the user fairy easily.

•Neo can learn any task with very few learning/training examples. Neo could require as little as ten demonstrations in how to perform a given task to successfully learn how to complete the task autonomously.

•Bornich claims 1X’s AI is capable of performing a task it has never seen before correctly 10% of the time.

•2024 for 1X will be spent scaling the AI models and working how to have them complete tasks such as cleaning a house and knowing when they have made mistakes in the cleaning process and how to recover from these mistakes- in other words implementing common sense into their AI model.

•Bornich believes 1X may have the largest robotic data set.

•Bornich says 1X have discovered it takes millions of examples in a simulated environment for a humanoid robot to learn a task; while only taking hundreds of examples to learn a task in the real world.

•Bornich designed 1X with a manufacturing first mindset, saying his company shares that similarly with Optimus and Tesla.

•1X prioritise manufacturability and safety with Neo, explaining the biologically inspired soft design.

•Neo will be soft, low energy and have parts that are low cost and this scalable for manufacturing.

•Eve will be discontinued as it is not designed to be scalable. Instead going forward 1X will exclusively offer their next generation platform Neo.

•1X will offer Neo at a price point significantly lower than Tesla’s “half a car” or $25,000 Optimus cost estimate.

•Bornich believes Tesla will be unable to offer Optimus at a price point lower than $25,000 due to the way Optimus is designed and the components it uses.

•Bornich believes cost will be the deciding factor in whether a domestic humanoid robot will be successful or not.

•Bornich points out success will be determined by a humanoid robots hardware, which must be safe and scalable from a manufacturing standpoint to utilise the new advances in AI such as LLM and VLM.

•1X will start in the domestic space with Neo, having previously used Eve for security and logistics. In contrast to many other humanoid robot manufacturers who are beginning in the factory and migrating to the home.

•Bornich believes starting with a domestic consumer base will lead to creating a highly intelligent and adaptable humanoid system that is then ready for work in factories.

•Bornich believes it is inefficient for AGI not to have embodiment.

•Bornich believes the limits of current training has been reached and the only option for AGI is real world embodiment.

•Safety will be integral to Neo.

•Neo will weigh 30kgs or 66 pounds. This is to ensure safety when Neo falls on a person by accident.

•Neo’s body will be soft and collapse in on itself when presented with external force.

•Neo will have no hard external surfaces.

•Neo’s hardware has been designed to reduce the inertial forces created by its body movements. Ensuring a safer experience for the user when Neo is in operation close by.

•Neo’s hardware utilises tendon drives instead of gearbox motors at the joints as is seen in most other robots.

•Neo’s hardware is robust enough that it can fall over one thousand times and get up and sustain no damage.

•1X has a neural physics engine- a simulation that uses real world data to train neural nets.

•Neo will have the ability to understand the user’s mood when engaging in social interactions.

•1X are already conducting beta testing with their Neo androids in homes. Bornich has a Neo at home.

•Bornich believes the key to a success in the Neo humanoid will be focusing manipulating in small spaces with large forces using multi-contact manipulation instead of putting a lot of emphasis on walking.

•Neo will be more useful than Eve, because Neo’s legs will aid it in manipulating objects more easily.

•Currently Neo can get a beer from the fridge, but this ability is not reliable and still needs time to develop.

•Neo will conduct micro risk assessments for every task to ensure it is safe before proceeding.

•Neo will begin with safe tasks such as cleaning and migrate to dangerous tasks such as cooking once 1X have more data.

•Neo’s hardware design will be a complete overhaul of current thinking when it comes to robotic design. Currently humanoid robots are designed based on their predecessors in the factory, which were created to do specific tasks without touching anything and hence not applicable to a domestic environment where hardware design has to be compliant and adaptable.

•1X will offer Neo at a lower price than competitors due to cost savings brought about by their vertically integrated manufacturing system.

•Neo has tendon-like structures that move Neo’s joints when pulled. This allows Neo to move in a more bio inspired way compared to the stiff movements seen in traditional robots that utilise gears. Neo has no gears as seen in traditional humanoid robots.

•Neo can deadlift 70kgs or 150 pounds.

•Neo will have a fast charge speed yet not a long run time to ensure operational time is maximised.

•Bornich mentioned a timeline of between 2026 to 2036 before we see Neo in our homes.

After listening to this interview, and owning robots at home myself, I think Bornich is well positioned to offer the first consumer domestic humanoid.