We started Robot Stories as a way to highlight the many well-known robotics companies that were born right here in Massachusetts. It is amazing how many of the people and companies that are turning this cutting-edge technology into solutions to meet everyday challenges are right in our backyard (see our interactive map of the MA Robotics ecosystem here). We also felt what better way to learn about the founder’s stories than by having local high school students interview them.
Robots already do amazing things every day. They vacuum floors, help inspect farmland via drones, drive cars, help automate repetitive tasks, make jobs safer and augment human capabilities and performance. How did these companies get started? What drove their founders to develop the solutions they have? What challenges did they face? What do they see in the future?
This STEM-focused, family-friendly webinar was about the opportunities in robotics in Massachusetts focused on some of the world’s leading roboticists and gave students and future innovators the opportunity to ask them what the future of robotics will looks like.
The student interviewers did fantastic jobs with interesting and insightful questions. The stories from these leaders were told to help inspire students to enter the field of technology and robotics, and we hope they did that. We recorded all of our Robot Stories interview series and would love for you to view them if you haven’t already done so.
Laurie Leshin, President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Laurie has sent robots to Mars, overseen NASA’s largest science center, and even has a piece of the solar system named after her. Cool. She now oversees WPI, offering the first undergraduate program in robotics. Learn how robotics is being taught and the many career paths you can pursue with a robotics degree.
Laurie Leshin was interviewed by Glaydson Pires, a junior at the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury and you can watch the interview here.
Colin Angle, CEO and cofounder of iRobot: iRobot has hit the home run of robotics with its robotic vacuum, but it didn’t start out building robots for the home. Learn the story of iRobot’s many different robot ideas before they developed the Roomba, and what Colin sees for humans and robots in the future.
Colin Angle was interviewed by Jeralmi Canela, a junior at the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury. You can view his interview here.
Helen Greiner, an innovator and robotics expert for the U.S. Army who helped start a number of robotics companies, including iRobot: Helen has done more to bring robots into the mainstream of our lives than perhaps any other entrepreneur. She dates her love of robots back to a childhood infatuation with R2-D2. Learn what inspired her to get into robotics, the experiences she has had and what advice she has for those getting into the field. Helen Greiner was interviewed by Elizabeth Garcia, a rising senior at the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Roxbury. See their full discussion here.
Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics: Marc has developed advanced robots that can gallop like a cheetah, negotiate 10 inches of snow, walk upright on two legs and even open doors and deliver packages. You’ve seen the videos. Now learn how Marc and his team came up with a unique approach to overcoming hurdles and what shapes robots will take in the future. Marc Raibert was interviewed by Shayan Jeanty, a rising senior at Canton High School in Canton MA. Watch Marc’s interview here.
Robot Stories was co-produced by MassRobotics and the Innovation Institute at the MassTech Collaborative.