Agility Robotics

Willamette Valley High Tech

Agility Robotics is a global leader in developing robots designed to work in human spaces — and they’re doing it right here in Oregon.

The Nature of Work


Two robots holding bins

Americans are currently going through a time of soul-searching when it comes to “work.” The crucible of the pandemic has made us more aware than ever of the tradeoffs we all make between our need to work and the quality of our lives. What sort of jobs do we want? Just as importantly, what sort of jobs are available to us? And, if there are entire categories of jobs that people simply will no longer accept, what will it mean for our economy? Our quality of life?

These are questions with no easy answers, but clearly, there are some categories of jobs that have become difficult to fill. And these are exactly the sort of jobs that might be better executed through automation.

Robots Alongside People

A man works on a robot's knee

“I really see robots helping with dangerous, dull, repetitive manual labor jobs,” said Mikhail Jones, Vice President of Software for Agility Robotics. “That’s really where robotics excels, and we’ve seen the rise of automation really improve efficiency across industry.”

Agility’s Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Hurst agreed. “The very first kinds of things we’re going to be able to do with our robots, the Digit robot, are the kind of repetitive tasks that people just don’t want to do.

The first commercially available human-form robot

Meet Digit

A robot designed to work alongside people in human spaces

Human-Inspired Design

Agility Robotics CEOAgility’s robots have changed over time, eventually evolving into a very recognizable human shape. Except for its bird-like, backwards-bending knees, the human influence on their most recent iteration, named “Digit”, is obvious. In the words of Agility’s CEO Damion Shelton (pictured here), “We were the very first company to ever sell a machine with legs that we’re aware of, of any kind, and we are still to-date the only company that has a commercially available, person-shaped robot.”

A New Kind of Co-worker

Three robots from oldest to newestUnlike single-function factory robots, Digit is designed to perform a variety of tasks, often right alongside people. In many ways, it’s the best co-worker imaginable. Digit is quiet, monitors all movement around it, and adjusts as necessary. It’s impervious to boredom or repetitive-motion injuries. Digit, in short, is a tool that provides an ideal complement to a traditional workforce. According to CTO Jonathan Hurst, “What we’re really getting to now, and really core to the mission of our company, is building robots that can operate like people, in human spaces, work with us, and really augment the workforce’s capabilities in our world.”

Agility robotics spokesperson in an interview
We can just achieve more, build more, and create more than at any point in history, and these robots are going to allow us to continue that trend, allow us to create more in the future than we can today.
— Jonathan Hurst, Chief Technology Office, Agility Robotics

Lottery Dollars at Work

A man repairs a robot in a warehouse

Your Play Helps Create Jobs Here in Oregon

Not just Agility Robotics, but companies and programs all across Oregon receive Lottery-backed grants and loans through Business Oregon. Their mission? To invest in Oregon businesses, communities, and people to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy. The Oregon Lottery was founded by voters for exactly this purpose, and, thanks to Business Oregon (and many companies like Agility Robotics), we continue to work to keep Oregon’s economy strong.

Business Oregon