Who am I?

To the extent that work defines who I am, I will attempt to answer the unanswerable. I work in robotics. I was originally drawn to the topic by the grand challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) found within robotics. How can we build machines that operate intelligently within the physical world we inhabit?

Over time, I found the pursuit of pure AI without context unsatisfying. Since arriving at Georgia Tech back in 2006, my research has focused on enabling robots to provide intelligent physical assistance in the context of healthcare. This topic has the nice property that a full solution would likely include robots that are physically and socially intelligent in human environments, which would be consistent with notions of artificial general intelligence (AGI). The robots would also be intent on helping humans flourish, which is the type of success I’d like to see.

In 2007, I founded the Healthcare Robotics Lab. I recommend you go to my lab’s website and look around. Through numerous studies, we’ve shown that mobile robots with arms (mobile manipulators) can meaningfully benefit people with disabilities in their daily lives. This points the way to a future in which intelligent mobile manipulators help people on a daily basis. There are challenges to overcome, but I’m optimistic.

In pursuit of helping this future arrive sooner, I co-founded a startup company named Hello Robot Inc. in 2017. I own equity in and work for Hello Robot, which is commercializing robotic assistance technologies initially developed in my lab. We’re still pretty stealthy. I’m looking forward to the day when I can share more.

Professional Details

  • Associate Professor with tenure at Georgia Tech
  • Adjunct Associate Professor
  • Over 100 peer-reviewed publications
  • Invented and led the creation of three assistive mobile manipulators
  • 10 people have earned a Ph.D. with me as their primary advisor
    • They’re doing great!
  • My awards include
    • 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award
    • Georgia Tech Research Corporation Robotics Award
    • Google Faculty Research Award
    • NSF CAREER award
    • Hesburgh Award Teaching Fellow
    • Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award
  • Research covered by the popular media, including the New York Times, Technology Review, ABC, and CNN
  • Degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
      • Advisor: Prof. Rod Brooks
    • M.Eng., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
    • B.S., Computer Science and Engineering
      • minor in Cognitive Science