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The Pransky interview: Helen Greiner, Serial Robotics Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of CyPhy Works, CoFounder iRobot Corporation

Joanne Pransky (Associate Editor, Industrial Robot)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 18 May 2015




The following article is a “Q&A interview” conducted by Joanne Pransky of Industrial Robot Journal as a method to impart the combined technological, business and personal experience of a prominent, robotic industry engineer-turned entrepreneur regarding the evolution, commercialization and challenges of bringing a technological invention to market.


The interviewee is innovator Helen Greiner, Founder and CEO of CyPhy Works. Ms Greiner describes her technical and business experiences delivering ground robots into the industrial, consumer and military markets, which led to her pioneering flying robot solutions.


Helen Greiner received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in computer science, both from MIT. She also holds an honorary doctor of engineering degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Greiner is one of the three co-founders of iRobot Corp (Nasdaq: IRBT) and served as iRobot’s Vice President of Engineering (1990-1994), President (1994-2008), and Chairman (2004-2008). She founded CyPhy Works in 2008. Greiner has also served as the President, Board Member for the Robotics Technology Consortium; a Trustee for MIT; and is currently a Trustee for the Boston Museum of Science.


Inspired as a child by the movie Star Wars, Greiner’s life goal has been to create robots. Greiner was one of three people that founded iRobot Corporation and developed a culture of innovation that led to the Roomba Autonomous Vacuuming Robot. There are now more than 12 million Roombas worldwide. She also led iRobot’s entry into the military marketplace with the creation and deployment of over 6,000 PackBot robots. Greiner has received many awards and honors for her contributions in technology innovation and business leadership. She was named by the Kennedy School at Harvard in conjunction with the US News and World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders and was honored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International with the prestigious Pioneer Award. She has also been honored as a Technology Review Magazine “Innovator for the Next Century” and has been awarded the DEMO God Award and DEMO Lifetime Achievement Award. She was named one of the Ernst & Young New England Entrepreneurs of the Year, invited to the World Economic Forum as a Global Leader of Tomorrow and Young Global Leader and has been inducted in the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.



Pransky, J. (2015), "The Pransky interview: Helen Greiner, Serial Robotics Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of CyPhy Works, CoFounder iRobot Corporation", Industrial Robot, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 181-185.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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