You hear EVA before you see it. A whirring and whizzing noise greets you as you enter the offices of Automata, a start-up robotics company based in London.

To one side a robotic arm is going through an intricate set of moves: six joints twisting and turning in a sequence which, in the real world, would place a label on a parcel.

That’s EVA, and it has being doing those moves non-stop for months to test its reliability.

Around the office and workshop there are more than a dozen other EVA units, some being dismantled by the engineers, others awaiting testing.

It must be very eerie at night as EVA continues its work, simulating attaching labels, while surrounded by its silent clones.

This robotic arm emerged from the work of