ex-President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev celebrated his 80th birthday in London yesterday. We at ST have some love and respect for this man who changed the course of history.
Back in the late 80s/ early 90s Gorbachev knew that the Soviet economy was broken and one of his many initiatives was to restart entrepreneurism in the USSR. He also knew that after 70 years of communism the skills did not exist so he initiated contacts with Western companies to form joint ventures. We were one of those companies. At the time we were making special purpose robotic systems and had not got going with the bench top robot idea. We formed a joint venture company (which still exists), Association Robot in what was Sverdlovsk, now Ekaterinburg. An experienced engineer, Andrei Vavulenko came to Cambridge where we designed the R17 together. Production was then set up in Ekaterinburg but it was not successful due to the distance. Of course the R17 has had many improvements since then and the electronics and software (designed by us) have seen many advancements. But the basic R17 mechanicals are as Andrei designed them.
Our motto was: Technologia dlya progressia! (технологии для прогресса) - technology for progress.