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The Pransky interview: Dr Ken Goldberg, Professor, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, UC Berkeley; Inventor and Artist

Joanne Pransky (Robotic Psychiatrist, Sonoma County, California, USA)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 29 April 2019

Issue publication date: 7 May 2019




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 PhD and inventor regarding his pioneering efforts and the commercialization of bringing a technological invention to market. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


The interviewee is Dr Ken Goldberg, an inventor working at the intersection of art, robotics, and social media. He joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1995 where he is the UC Berkeley William S. Floyd Jr Distinguished Chair in Engineering and recently served as Chair of the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department. He has secondary appointments in UC Berkeley’s Electrical Engineering/Computer Science, Art Practice and the School of Information. Goldberg also holds an appointment at the UC San Francisco Medical School’s Department of Radiation Oncology where he pursues research in medical robotics. Goldberg is Director of the CITRIS “People and Robots” Initiative and the UC Berkeley’s Laboratory for Automation Science and Engineering (AUTOLAB) where he and his students research machine learning for robotics and automation in warehouses, homes, and operating rooms. In this interview, Goldberg shares some of his personal and business perspectives from his career-long pursuit of making robots less clumsy.


Goldberg earned dual BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, and MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1990. Goldberg also studied at Edinburgh University and the Technion. From 1991-95 he taught at the University of Southern California, and in fall 2000, he was visiting faculty at the MIT Media Lab. Goldberg and his students pursue research in three primary areas: Geometric Algorithms for Automation, Cloud Robotics, and Robot Learning.


Goldberg developed the first complete algorithms for part feeding and part fixturing, and developed the first robot on the Internet. His inventions have been awarded nine US Patents. Goldberg has published over 250 peer-reviewed technical papers and edited four books. He co-founded and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE). He is also Co-Founder of the Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) Lab, the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), the African Robotics Network (AFRON), the Center for Automation and Learning for Medical Robotics (CAL-MR), the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative (DDI), Hybrid Wisdom Labs, and Moxie Institute. He has presented over four hundred keynote and invited lectures. Goldberg's artwork, closely linked with his research, has appeared in over seventy venues. Ken was awarded the Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1995 by Bill Clinton, the Joseph Engelberger Robotics Award in 2000, elected IEEE Fellow in 2005, and selected by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society for the George Saridis Leadership Award in 2016.



Pransky, J. (2019), "The Pransky interview: Dr Ken Goldberg, Professor, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, UC Berkeley; Inventor and Artist", Industrial Robot, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 188-191.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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