The purpose of this paper is to present 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-turned entrepreneur regarding the evolution, commercialization and challenges of bringing a technological invention to market.
The interviewee is Dr Aaron Edsinger, a proven entrepreneur and inventor in the field of human-collaborative robotics. Dr Edsinger shares his journey that led him from developing humanoids at Rodney Brooks’ Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, to cofounding four companies, two of which got purchased by Google.
Dr Edsinger received a BS degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford, an MS in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a PhD in Computer Science from MIT and did post-doctorate research in the Humanoid Robotics Group at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. He co-founded his first company Meka Robotics in 2007 and that same year, he started his second company, HStar Technologies. In 2011, he cofounded Redwood Robotics, and in 2013, he sold Meka and Redwood to Google. From 2013 to 2017, he was a Robotics Director at Google. In August of 2017, he cofounded Hello Robot Inc.
Dr Edsinger’s work in robotics grew out of the San Francisco robotic art scene in the 1990s. Since then, he has collaborated and built over a dozen research and artistic robot platforms and has been granted 28 patents. His world-class robotic systems encompass Dr Edsinger’s innovative research in dexterous manipulation in unstructured environments, force controlled compliant actuation, human safe robotics, integrated mechatronic engineering and the design of humanoid robots. Domo, the humanoid robot he built, was named one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of the Year for 2007. Out of the eight robot companies Google purchased in 2013, two were cofounded by Dr Edsinger. In 2017, Dr Edsinger left Google to cofound his new company, Hello Robot Inc, a stealth mode consumer robot company.
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