Marc Raibert founded the Leg Laboratory at CMU back in 1980. After moving homes to MIT in 1986, it became one of the most important research facilities in robotics. It’s been foundational in the development of robotic motion and has served as a launching pad for some of the industry’s brightest minds. Central to that list is Gill Pratt, the MIT assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science who served as lab director until 2001.
We’re excited to announce that Raibert and Pratt will reunite at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center on September 21. These two technology luminaries will be coheadlining a fireside panel on Disrupt’s Hardware Stage to highlight some of the latest innovations their respective teams have been working on in the fields of robotics, AI and mobility.
Their paths diverged somewhat after their respective stints at the Leg Lab. Raibert used much of the team’s learnings as the foundation of Boston Dynamics, serving as the company’s CEO for nearly three decades and overseeing the creation of some the world’s most advanced and instantly recognizable robots.
After his time at MIT, Pratt continued to teach, serving as professor at Olin’s College of Engineering for much of the following decade. After a stint serving as program manager at DARPA’s Defense Sciences Offices, he was named Chief Scientist, Toyota Motor Corporation and CEO, Toyota Research Institute. Toyota Research Institute has become a leading research organization, focused on robotics, smart cities and automotives.
It’s here that their paths converge again. Raibert left his CEO role in 2020, as Boston Dynamics has ramped up its product commercialization. Almost exactly one year ago, the company’s new owner, Hyundai, announced the launch of the Boston Dynamics AI institute. While it carries the same name and some of the same talent, the institute is an independent organization, which – much like TRI – is devoted to pure research.
Raibert and Pratt will be joining us to showcase their respective organizations’ latest work and discuss what the world of research looks like beyond university walls.
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