Boston, July 17, 2017

The Minds Behind the Machines.

TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics is a single-day event designed to facilitate in-depth conversation and networking with the technologists, researchers and students of the robotics community as well as the founders and investors bringing innovation to the masses. We’ll discover the science behind the systems and explore topics like:

  • Mobility and Autonomous Systems
  • Medical and Biological Robotic Innovations
  • Venture Investment Trends
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
  • Hardware Startup Challenges
  • The Human-Robot Interaction
  • Educating the Next Generation of Engineers and more…



Today's innovators, leaders and experts share their experiences and insights


Collaborate with the robotics community and deep-dive on specialized topics


Meet the key players and contributors in robotics throughout the day


Kresge Auditorium
W16, 48 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139


Monday, July 17

    All times EST
  • 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Registration Open

  • 8:00 am - 9:30 am

    Continental Breakfast

  • 9:00 am - 9:05 am

    Opening Remarks from Matthew Panzarino

  • 9:05 am - 9:25 am

    What's Next at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory with Daniela Rus (MIT CSAIL)

  • 9:25 am - 9:50 am

    Is Venture Ready for Robotics? with Manish Kothari (SRI), Josh Wolfe (Lux Capital) and Helen Zelman (Lemnos)

  • 9:50 am - 10:10 am

    The Future of Industrial Robotics with Sami Atiya (ABB)

  • 10:10 am - 10:35 am

    Collaborative Robots At Work with Clara Vu (VEO), Jerome Dubois (6 River Systems) and Holly Yanco (UMass Lowell)

  • 10:30 am - 11:15 am

    WORKSHOP: Fresh Out of the MIT Lab with Robert Katzschmann, Claudia Perez D’Arpino and Andrew Spielberg

  • 10:35 am - 10:55 am

    Coffee Break

  • 10:55 am - 11:20 am

    Robots, AI and Humanity with David Barrett (Olin), David Edelman (MIT) and Dr. Brian Pierce (DARPA)

  • 11:20 am - 11:45 am

    Building A Robotics Startup from Angel to Exit with Helen Greiner (CyPhy Works), Andy Wheeler (GV) and Elaine Chen (Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship)

  • 11:45 am - 12:05 pm

    Imagineering Disney Robotics with Martin Buehler (Disney Imagineering)

  • 12:05 pm - 1:00 pm

    Lunch and Workshops TBA

  • 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm

    WORKSHOP: Educating the Next Generation of Roboticists with David Barrett (Olin College), Ryan Keenan (Udacity), and Dr. Robert McMahan (Kettering University)

  • 1:00 pm - 1:20 pm

    Robots at Amazon with Tye Brady (Amazon Robotics)

  • 1:20 pm - 1:55 pm

    Building The Robot Brain with Heather Ames (Neurala), Brian Gerkey (Open Robotics) and Deepu Talla (Nvidia)

  • 1:55 pm - 2:20 pm

    When Robots Fly with Buddy Michini (Airware), Andreas Raptopoulos (Matternet) and Jan Stumpf (Intel)

  • 2:20 pm - 2:40 pm

    Bringing Robots Home with Colin Angle (iRobot)

  • 2:40 pm - 2:50 pm

    Demo with Carl Vause (Soft Robotics)

  • 2:50 pm - 3:00 pm

    Demo with David Perry (Harvard University SEAS)

  • 3:05 pm - 3:25 pm

    Coffee Break

  • 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

    WORKSHOP: Getting the Most Out of DARPA with Dr. Brian Pierce and Dr. John Main

  • 3:35 pm - 3:45 pm

    Demo with Bruce Welty (Locus Robotics)

  • 3:45 pm - 4:15 pm

    Robotics Startup Pitch Competition

    Contestants: Claudia Pérez D'Arpino, Tangible Media Group and Franklin Robotics // Judges: Jeremy Conrad (Lemnos Labs), Helen Greiner (CyPhy Works), Daniel Theobald (Vecna Technologies) and Melonee Wise (Fetch Robotics)

  • 4:15 pm - 4:35 pm

    The Age Of The Household Robot with Gill Pratt (Toyota Research Institute)

  • 4:35 pm - 4:55 pm

    Fireside Chat with Rodney Brooks (Rethink Robotics)

  • 4:55 pm - 5:05 pm

    Demo with Sangbae Kim (MIT Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory)

  • 5:05 pm - 5:10 pm

    Wrap Up 

  • 5:10 pm - 7:00 pm


Latest TC Sessions: Robotics News

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Event Participants

  • Heather Ames

    Heather Ames

    Heather is Neurala’s co-founder and COO, and brings to the team her diverse executive skills ranging from oversight of multi-million dollar applied research initiatives, strategic planning, product management, and leading translation of research into commercial products. Heather enjoys finding ways in which artificial intelligence can be used to enhance consumer interactions with robots. Previously, Heather has served as the Executive Director and Co-PI of the NSF-sponsored CELEST Science of Learning Center at Boston University. Heather holds a PhD in Cognitive and Neural Systems from Boston University and a BS in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California at Berkeley.

    See Heather Ames's Crunchbase profile
  • Colin Angle

    Colin Angle

    Colin Angle is chairman of the board, chief executive officer and co-founder of iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT). Angle’s leadership has transformed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spin-off into a global leader of practical robots. One of the world’s leading authorities on mobile robots, Angle is an industry pioneer with more than two decades of experience. Under his guidance, iRobot is at the forefront of the growing robot industry, delivering home and military robots that are making a difference.

    A longtime sailor, Angle is known for his ability to bring together and inspire a winning crew. By setting a course of team empowerment, collaboration and innovation, Angle is enabling iRobot to deliver cutting-edge, market-leading robots that save time and lives. Today, more than 14 million home robots have been sold worldwide, revolutionizing the way people clean. More than 5,000 military robots have been delivered to defense forces worldwide, performing thousands of dangerous missions while keeping troopsout of harm’sway.

    Angle’s vision for the future of robots and his keen sense of business strategy are driving forces behind iRobot’s successful identification and execution of expansion opportunities. Under Angle’s leadership, iRobot has formed strategic p artnerships with Clorox, Boeing and a variety of other companies, building on decades of expertise from each partner to create new and innovative robot solutions.

    In iRobot’s early days, Angle and his team designed the behavior-controlled rovers for NASA that led to the Sojourner exploring Mars in 1997. Angle’s team won the NASA Group Achievement Award for its accomplishments, and his name is inscribed inside the case of Spirit, the Mars exploration rover on displa y at NASA.

    Before co-founding iRobot in 1990, Angle was president of Artificial Creatures Inc. Earlier in his career, Angle worked at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where he first teamed with iRobot co-founders Helen Greiner and Rodney Brooks. Angle’s master thesis at MIT produced Genghis, a six-legged auto nomous walking robot that is now at the Smithsonian National Air and Science Museum in Washington, D.C.

    Angle’s leadership has been recognized with numerous professional awards. He has been named CEO of the Year by the Mass Technology Leadership Council, a Mass High Tech AllStar, one of Fortune Small Business Magazine’s Best Bosses and New England Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young . Angle has a ppeared on CNN and CNBC, and has been profiled as an industry expert in media outlets such as Business Week, CNET, the New York Times and Newsweek. Angle is a member of the board of directors at Striiv, Inc.

    Angle holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in computer science, both from MIT.

    See Colin Angle's Crunchbase profile
  • Sami Atiya

    Sami Atiya

    Mr. Atiya was appointed to ABB's Executive Committee as President of the Discrete Automation and Motion division, now Robotics and Motion, on June 13, 2016.

    From 1997 to 2015, he held senior roles at Siemens in Germany, including CEO of the Mobility and Logistics division in the Infrastructure and Cities Sector in Munich from 2011, and CEO of Computer Tomography in the Healthcare Sector in Erlangen from 2008-2011, among other roles. Before joining Siemens, he was Managing Director at Harald Balzer & Partner in Stuttgart, Germany from 1995-1997. He has also worked for Robert Bosch in Germany and the Fraunhofer Institute for Information and Data Processing in the US. Mr. Atiya was born in 1964 and is a German citizen.

    See Sami Atiya's Crunchbase profile
  • Tye Brady

    Tye Brady

    Tye is a leading strategic thinker and engineering professional with more than 25 years of hands-on experience in team leadership, technical management and system design for advanced instrumentation, autonomous vehicles and robotic systems. Tye is chief technologist at Amazon Robotics, where he heads advanced technology and research efforts to further establish Amazon Robotics as the preeminent robotics company in the world. With robotics moving from the aspirational to the everyday functional, Tye believes there’s nothing we can’t achieve or improve through smart robotics when coupled with the right human talent and need.

    Prior to Amazon Robotics, Tye spent 15 years with Draper Laboratory in a variety of technical and leadership roles, advancing robotics and spacecraft engineering. He holds a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from MIT. Tye is a founding partner of MassRobotics, a not-for-profit organization serving as a world-class platform for robotic innovation.

    See Tye Brady's Crunchbase profile
  • Elaine Chen

    Elaine Chen

    Elaine is a startup veteran, speaker, author, and product strategy and innovation consultant who has brought numerous hardware and software products to market.  As Founder and Managing Director of ConceptSpring, Elaine works with innovative teams to help them define and build new products and services with the speed and agility of a startup. Clients span diverse industries, including healthcare IT, industrial automation, robotics, consumer electronics, retail innovation, fintech and more. She is the author of the book, “Bringing a Hardware Product to Market: Navigating the Wild Ride from Concept to Mass Production”.

    As the VP of engineering and product management at several startups, including Rethink Robotics, Zeo, Zeemote, and SensAble Technologies, Elaine has built, grown, and nurtured several technical organizations from the ground up. She is a co-inventor on 22 patents to date, and has managed IP portfolio strategies for numerous organizations. Elaine’s experience spans multiple industries, including consumer electronics, robotics, industrial automation, IoT, CAD/CAM, retail and supply chain software, and healthcare IT.

    Elaine has been working with students at MIT since early 2011.  She has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Professional Advisor and Senior Lecturer at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the MIT Sloan School of Management. She designs, develops, and teaches courses and programs in entrepreneurship and primary market research, coaches students on a one-on-one basis, and develops systems and processes to scale up the support to entrepreneurial students.  She built the Trust Center’s First Time Founder Knowledge Base from the ground up. In June 2016, Elaine received the Monosson Prize for Entrepreneurship Mentoring from the MIT Sloan School of Management in recognition of her contributions to foster entrepreneurship education at MIT.

    Elaine is a thought leader and speaker who has been featured in Xconomy, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Forbes and Fortune. She covers topics in entrepreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship, leadership, hardware product development, technology trends and more.  She serves on the Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, a non-profit organization serving all entrepreneurs in the greater Boston area. Her most recent speaking engagements include a keynote address for the Tourism Innovation Conference 2nd Edition – International Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, and a workshop for the Project Entrepreneur Intensive in New York City. She was recently selected by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and the Lemelson Foundation to serve as one of eight Invention Ambassadors for 2017-2018 to inspire, inform and influence thought leaders and global community about innovation and invention via speaking engagements.

    Elaine holds a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT.

    See Elaine Chen's Crunchbase profile
  • Jeremy Conrad

    Jeremy Conrad

    Jeremy Conrad is a partner at Lemnos, a seed stage investment firm based out of San Francisco. Prior to Lemnos Mr. Conrad was an active duty United States Air Force officer working on the Airborne Laser Program. Mr. Conrad received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    See Jeremy Conrad's Crunchbase profile
  • Jerome Dubois

    Jerome Dubois

    Jerome is a founder and co-CEO of 6 River Systems, Inc. (6RS) and manages sales, solutions, and marketing. Prior to founding 6RS, Jerome was on the leadership team at Kiva (now Amazon Robotics) and ran the commercial business unit responsible for over 25 customers and 35 sites globally. He has over 20 years supply chain technology experience, including leadership positions at Yantra (now IBM Smarter Commerce) and Amazon Services. Jerome graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Northeastern University.

    See Jerome Dubois's Crunchbase profile
  • R. David Edelman

    R. David Edelman

    Dr. R. David Edelman comes to MIT having distinguished himself as one of the U.S. government’s foremost voices on how technology is changing our economy, national security, and daily lives. An expert on pressing technology challenges facing national security and the global economy, his insights have helped shape national and international policy at the highest levels.
    In his most recent role as Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Technology Policy at the National Economic Council (NEC), he led the White House team focusing on the digital economy — including broadband, telecommunications, spectrum, and technology trade — as well as consumer cybersecurity, domestic and international data privacy, high-tech patent and copyright issues, and antitrust/competition.
    In his time at the White House he led engagement with hundreds of technology companies around the world; advised the President on a range of emerging technologies such as big data, drones, and autonomous vehicles; and designed and managed over $15 billion of signature programs focused on technology, education, and economic opportunity.
    He was awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work on intelligence matters, and was twice the recipient of the Meritorious Honor Award for his United Nations negotiations and development of the nation’s cyber diplomacy strategy. He was previously named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” leaders in Law & Policy, and later chosen as a “30 Under 30 All-Star Alumni” — one of only three in the magazine’s history — for his ongoing contributions to national policy.
    Edelman holds a bachelor’s degree in History (with honors) from Yale and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Oxford in International Relations. His dissertation, “Cyberattacks in International Relations,” examined which forces might restrain state use of offensive cyber capabilities.

    See R. David Edelman's Crunchbase profile
  • Brian Gerkey

    Brian Gerkey

    Brian Gerkey is CEO of OSRF. Prior to joining OSRF, Brian was Director of Open Source Development at Willow Garage. Previously, Brian was a Computer Scientist in the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI, and before that, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at Stanford University. Brian received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2003, his M.S. in Computer Science from USC in 2000, and his B.S.E. in Computer Engineering, with a secondary major in Mathematics and a minor in Robotics and Automation, from Tulane University in 1998.

    Brian is a strong believer in, frequent contributor to, and constant beneficiary of open source software. Since 2008, Brian has worked on the ROS Project, which develops and releases one of the most widely used robot software platforms in robotics research and education (and soon industry). He is founding and former lead developer on the open source Player Project, which continues to maintain widely used robot simulation and development tools. For his work on Player and ROS, Brian was recognized by MIT Technology Review with the TR35 award in 2011.

    See Brian Gerkey's Crunchbase profile
  • Helen Greiner

    Helen Greiner

    Helen Greiner commands a presence in the field of robotics. Co-founding iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) in 1990, Helen Greiner served as president until 2004 and chairman until 2008. During her tenure, Helen Greiner guided iRobot into its position as a global leader with the release of the Roomba™, the PackBot™ and SUGV military robots. She built a culture of practical innovation and delivery that led to the deployment of 6,000 PackBots with our troops. In addition, Helen Greiner headed up iRobot’s financing projects, raising $35M in venture capital for a $75M initial public offering. Greiner holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in computer science, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Accolades – One of America’s Best Leaders, named by the Kennedy School at Harvard in conjunction with the U.S. News and World Report “Innovator for the Next Century” by Review Magazine Global Leader of Tomorrow and Young Global Leader by the World Economic forum Received prestigious Pioneer Award from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) DEMO God Award and DEMO Lifetime Achievement Award New England Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young Inducted into the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame Distinctions – A Trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston Museum of Science (MOS) On the Board of Visitors of the Army War College (AWC) and Army Science Board (ASB) Served as the elected President and Board Member of the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC) A Trustee of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)

    See Helen Greiner's Crunchbase profile
  • Daniel Jones

    Daniel Jones

    Daniel Jones is a US and Africa based entrepreneur with over 17 years of experience living and working in emerging and frontier markets including China, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and India. He has professional roots in technology, applied mathematics, electronic commerce, and emerging economies. In 1991, Dan was with the Defense Intelligence Agency where he was a key architect and topology designer of the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications Systems (JWICS), the first and now largest TCP/IP system to transfer voice, video, and data across Top Secret networks.

    Dan spent the last five years living in Kinshasa, DRC, where he evaluated supply chains and structured/funded companies as CEO and founder of Pioneer Management. In the DRC, he founded RAMIKA, the first US-owned company to successfully export conflict-free minerals from the DRC to the US in compliance with supply chain and traceability requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition, he structured the first private port facility constructed in the DRC.

    Dan has a B.S. in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell and an M.B.A. with concentrations in International Business, Finance, and Business Strategy from the University of Chicago (Booth). He served as an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Chicago, where his specialty was the impact of technology on Business Strategy.

    See Daniel Jones's Crunchbase profile
  • Manish Kothari

    Manish Kothari

    Manish Kothari, Ph.D., is president of SRI Ventures and is a vice president of SRI International. In this role, Kothari leads the creation of high-value venture opportunities and is intimately involved in the venture creation process from concept through market development, team building, technology transition, seed funding, partner and investor identification, and launch.

    Manish joined SRI in 2013 as a program director in the Robotics Program in 2013. In 2014, he moved to SRI Ventures as director of commercial ventures and licensing, with an emphasis on healthcare, engineering, and physical sciences and in 2015 he took over the SRI Ventures team.

    Manish is on the boards of a number of robotics companies such Abundant Robotics and Superflex, as well as Area 17, an innovative drone company. He also served as an advisor to a number of M&A deals and investments in the space area.

    He holds multiple patents and is the author or co-author of several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.

    Manish received his M.S. degree and Ph.D. in biomechanical engineering from Cornell University, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. His bachelor of technology degree in aerospace engineering (summa cum laude) is from the Indian Institute of Technology.

    See Manish Kothari's Crunchbase profile
  • Buddy Michini

    Buddy Michini

    Buddy has a BS, MS and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research has included adaptive control for indoor UAVs, autonomous battery swap for aerial platforms, autopilot design for R&D, and robot learning from demonstration. As CTO, Buddy helps guide the long-term product roadmap to incorporate new developments from industry and academia into the Airware product line.

    See Buddy Michini's Crunchbase profile
  • Dr. Brian M. Pierce

    Dr. Brian M. Pierce

    Brian Pierce is deputy director of Information Innovation Office (I2O) at DARPA. Prior to this, Dr. Pierce served as the deputy office director of the strategic technology Office from 2005 to 2010. He has almost 30 years of experience developing advanced technologies in the aerospace/defense industry.

    Before joining DARPA, he was a technical director in space and airborne systems at the Raytheon Company. From 2002-2005, he was executive director of the Electronics Division at Rockwell Scientific Company in Thousand Oaks, California. From 1983 to 2002, he held various engineering positions at Hughes Aircraft Company and Raytheon in southern California.

    Dr. Pierce earned a doctor of philosophy degree in chemistry, a master of science degree in chemistry and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of California at Riverside.

    See Dr. Brian M. Pierce's Crunchbase profile
  • Gill Pratt

    Gill Pratt

    Dr. Gill Pratt is the Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a research and development enterprise designed to bridge the gap between fundamental research and product development. Launched in 2016, TRI’s mission is to enhance the safety of automobiles, with the ultimate goal of creating a car that is incapable of causing a crash. It seeks to provide increased access to cars for those who otherwise cannot drive, including those with special needs and seniors. Furthermore, TRI looks to translate outdoor mobility technology into products for indoor mobility, and accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning. Dr. Pratt also serves as the Executive Technical Advisor to Toyota Motor Corporation.

    Before joining Toyota, Dr. Pratt served as a program manager in the Defense Sciences Office at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from January 2010 through August 2015.

    Dr. Pratt’s primary interest is in the field of robotics and intelligent systems. Specific areas include interfaces that significantly enhance human/machine collaboration, mechanisms and control methods for enhanced mobility and manipulation, low impedance actuators, and the application of neuroscience techniques to robot perception and control.

    Dr. Pratt holds a Doctor of Philosophy in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His thesis is in the field of neurophysiology. Dr. Pratt was an Associate Professor and Director of the Leg Lab at MIT. Subsequently, he became a Professor at Franklin W. Olin College, and before joining DARPA and then Toyota, was Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Research. Dr. Pratt holds several patents in series elastic actuation and adaptive control.

    See Gill Pratt's Crunchbase profile
  • Andreas Raptopoulos

    Andreas Raptopoulos

    Designer, inventor and entrepreneur. Founded Matternet and serves as Chief Executive Officer since 2011. Pioneering on-demand drone logistics networks for medical items and commercial goods. Motivated by the desire to solve one of humanity's grand challenges, equal access to goods, by leapfrogging road infrastructure. Holds an BS & MS in Aeronautical Engineering, is a Royal College of Art graduate in Design and is lead inventor in several US and international patents. Speaker, Google Solve for X, 2012 & TED Global, 2013. Tech Pioneer, World Economic Forum, 2015.

    See Andreas Raptopoulos's Crunchbase profile
  • Daniela Rus

    Daniela Rus

    Daniela Rus is the Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. Rus’s research interests are in robotics, mobile computing, and data science. Rus is a Class of 2002 MacArthur Fellow, a fellow of ACM, AAAI and IEEE, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy for Arts and Science. She earned her PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University. Prior to joining MIT, Rus was a professor in the Computer Science Department at Dartmouth College.

    See Daniela Rus's Crunchbase profile
  • Deepu Talla

    Deepu Talla

    Deepu Talla is vice president and general manager of the Tegra business unit at NVIDIA, where he is responsible for deploying AI technology in autonomous machines and intelligent devices, such as video analytics, factory automation, and UAVs. Previously, he was responsible for NVIDIA’s mobile business unit.
    Prior to joining NVIDIA in 2013, he worked at Texas Instruments for more than 10 years in various executive management and technical leadership roles.
    Talla holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in electronics and communication engineering from Andhra University in India, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University, and a Ph.D. in computer engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

    See Deepu Talla's Crunchbase profile
  • Daniel Theobald

    Daniel Theobald

    Daniel Theobald is the co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Vecna, a leader in robotics solutions with a mission of empowering humanity through transformative technologies. Daniel founded Vecna in 1999 and has grown the company to focus on three key areas: Patient solutions, Logistics and Telepresence. Without taking any outside investment, he grew the company to serve a worldwide customer base. A true visionary, Daniel has designed and developed several robots, including the Bear disaster recovery robot, and an end-to-end fleet of logistics robots, as well as advanced automation components, such a biomimetic muscle, hydraulics and machine perception technology.

    Daniel graduated at the top of his class from MIT and was honored with the Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He continued his graduate work as an NSF fellow in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory at MIT, developing web-based control algorithms for a robotic Mars explorer. His academic record and research earned him an award from the Hertz Foundation.

    Daniel is also the co-founder and President of MassRobotics; he speaks regularly at industry events and conferences; and he has been published in top-tier trade and mainstream media.

    See Daniel Theobald's Crunchbase profile
  • Carl Vause

    Carl Vause

    Carl is CEO of Soft Robotics. Prior to Soft Robotics, Carl held a variety of senior positions in technology and medical device companies, most recently as Vice President of Marketing at OmniGuide Surgical. Carl served as the Global Franchise Leader for the Joint Repair business at Smith & Nephew, with $500 million in annual revenues and also as Vice President of Global Marketing and Director of Strategy and Business Development for the Endoscopy Global Business Unit. Carl served as Manager of Strategic Planning at 3M and as Division Operations Process Manager at Nestle Waters North America. He began his career a Naval Flight Officer in the United States Navy, retiring from the Naval Reserve in 2013.

    See Carl Vause's Crunchbase profile
  • Clara Vu

    Clara Vu

    Clara is a cofounder and the VP Engineering of Veo Robotics. She is a technology leader who has developed multiple robotics products from inception to market. Clara started her career at iRobot programming robots for oil well exploration; she then moved on to robotic toys and eventually the Roomba.

    After iRobot, she cofounded and led the software team at agricultural robotics company Harvest Automation. She has also consulted at Rethink Robotics and at startups in additive manufacturing and IoT.

    Clara holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Yale University.

    See Clara Vu's Crunchbase profile
  • Bruce E. Welty

    Bruce E. Welty

    Bruce Welty has been a pioneer and visionary in automating warehouses since before the Internet - he's built, bought and sold some of the industry’s most innovative companies. Bruce has automated warehouses for Fortune500s, e-Commerce startups, and even built a fulfillment company that currently ships more than $1 billion worth of e-commerce orders each year. It was his direct experience with warehouses, fulfillment, and utilizing robotics that inspired him to develop one of the industry's most advanced, flexible, and affordable autonomous robotics solutions: Locus Robotics.

    See Bruce E. Welty's Crunchbase profile
  • Andy Wheeler

    Andy Wheeler

    Andy brings over a decade of startup experience to his role, most recently serving as chief technology officer of Adura, where he led the company’s development of energy management systems for commercial buildings. Prior to joining Adura, Andy served as chief technology officer for Tendril Networks, helping consumers better understand and manage their energy usage. He co-founded Ember Corporation, the leading provider of ZigBee network software and system-on-chip devices. Under Andy’s leadership, the company delivered multiple industry firsts, including shipping the first ZigBee system-on-chip, which is now in millions of the smart meters being deployed around the world. He began his startup career at Zipcar. Anyone who has used the car-sharing service has used the embedded wireless in-car technology that Andy developed.

    Andy got his start in wireless and embedded technologies at the MIT Media Lab where he deployed large scale sensor networks under a DARPA grant. He was selected for the Technology Review 100 Top Innovators Under 35 award in 2003, and has multiple granted and pending patents in the fields of wireless networking and energy management.

    Andy received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.

    See Andy Wheeler's Crunchbase profile
  • Melonee Wise

    Melonee Wise

    Melonee Wise is the CEO of Fetch Robotics, which is delivering advanced robots for the logistics industry. The company introduced their robot system, including Fetch and Freight, in May of 2015. Prior to joining Fetch, Melonee was CEO and co-founder of Unbounded Robotics. Before then, Melonee was Manager of Robot Development at Willow Garage, where she led a team of engineers developing next-generation robot hardware, including the PR2 and TurtleBot from Willow Garage. Melonee also has extensive experience in the growth of ROS as a research and commercial platform. Melonee is currently a Mentor in the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator.

    See Melonee Wise's Crunchbase profile
  • Josh Wolfe

    Josh Wolfe

    Josh co-founded Lux Capital to support scientists and entrepreneurs who pursue counter-conventional solutions to the most vexing puzzles of our time in order to lead us into a brighter future. The more ambitious the project, the better—like, say, creating matter from light.
    Josh is a Director at Shapeways, 3Scan, Lux Research and Kallyope and helped lead the firm’s investments in Planet, Echodyne, Clarifai and Authorea.

    He is a founding investor and board member with Bill Gates in Kymeta, making cutting-edge antennas for high-speed global satellite and space communications. Josh is a Westinghouse semi-finalist and published scientist. He previously worked in investment banking at Salomon Smith Barney and in capital markets at Merrill Lynch. In 2008 Josh co-founded and funded Kurion, a contrarian bet in the unlikely business of using advanced robotics and state-of-the-art engineering and chemistry to clean up nuclear waste. It was an unmet, inevitable need with no solution in sight. The company was among the first responders to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. In February 2016, Veolia acquired Kurion for nearly $400 million—more than 40 times Lux’s total investment.

    Josh is a columnist with Forbes and Editor for the Forbes/Wolfe Emerging Tech Report. He has been invited to The White House and Capitol Hill to advise on nanotechnology and emerging technologies, and a lecturer at MIT, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia and NYU. He is a term member at The Council on Foreign Relations and Chairman of Coney Island Prep charter school, where he grew up in Brooklyn. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Economics and Finance.

    See Josh Wolfe's Crunchbase profile
  • Jan Stumpf

    Jan Stumpf

    Jan Stumpf is Head of Architecture for the drone segment at Intel Corporation and CEO of Ascending Technologies, a leading company in the drone development and manufacturing space. In February 2016, Ascending Technologies was acquired by Intel, shifting his role to focus on strategy, architecture and key customer relationships as a part of Intel’s Drone Team.

    As one of world’s first and most innovative multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) companies, Ascending Technologies became a leading supplier of high-end commercial, professional and research UAVs. As one of the founders, he led company growth, focusing on engineering, management and acting as the main point of contact of key partners – which included Intel.

    As a licensed UAV pilot and private pilot, he uses his experience in aviation and drones as a consultant focusing on UAV regulation and danger assessment. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Munich (TU Munich), and continued his Master thesis on the underwater drone “AMOUR” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    See Jan Stumpf's Crunchbase profile
  • David Barrett

    David Barrett

    With over 25 years of experience in the robotics industry, Dr. Barrett has built robotic systems for a wide variety of government, commercial and industrial customers. Dr. Barrett received his Ph.D. in ocean engineering and M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT. He teaches mechanical engineering and robotics at Olin. Prior to joining the Olin faculty, Dr. Barrett was vice president of Engineering at the iRobot Corporation. Prior to iRobot, he held positions as a director of the Walt Disney Imagineering Corporation, as a research engineer at MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and as a technical director at Draper Laboratory. In addition to his many published articles, Dr. Barrett holds sixteen patents with previous colleagues on a variety of robotic systems. He is a member of numerous professional societies including IEEE Robotics and Automation, Vehicular Technology and Ocean Engineering Societies.

    See David Barrett's Crunchbase profile
  • David Perry

    David Perry

    David Perry is a Staff Engineer at the Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is leading the Warrior Web program which creates body-worn systems to augment human mobility.
    Prior to joining the Wyss Institute, David was the director of product development strategy at engineering and design consulting firm Smithwise, and a former MassChallenge startup accelerator grand prize winner.

    David holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

    See David Perry's Crunchbase profile
  • Holly Yanco

    Holly Yanco

    Holly Yanco is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Director of the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center. She was named Distinguished University Professor at the university in 2015. Her research interests include human-robot interaction, multi-touch computing, interface design, robot autonomy, fostering trust of autonomous systems, evaluation methods for human-robot interaction, and the use of robots in K-12 education to broaden participation in computer science. Yanco's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, including a CAREER Award, the Army Research Office, DARPA, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM), NIST, and Google. Yanco was the General Chair of the 2012 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction and the co-chair of the conference's steering committee from 2013-2016. She served on the Executive Council of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) from 2006-2009. She is a senior member of AAAI. Yanco has a PhD and MS in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a BA in Computer Science and Philosophy from Wellesley College.

    See Holly Yanco's Crunchbase profile
  • Martin Buehler

    Martin Buehler

    Martin Buehler is an executive R&D Imagineer for Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development. In this role, Martin leads WDI R&D’s advanced robotics initiatives, including the conception, engineering and prototyping of cutting-edge robotic figures. He also collaborates across WDI Animation and Disney Research teams to help accelerate the advancement of Disney’s overall robotics practice.

    Martin is ideally suited for his role, coming to WDI R&D with more than 20 years of research and development experience in the robotics field. Most notably known for leading the BigDog project (a 250 pound, four-legged, robotic pack mule) at Boston Dynamics, Martin has held key leadership positions at iRobot, Vecna Technologies, and most recently as senior director, R&D, at Medtronic/Coviden.

    Martin holds a master’s and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Yale University. As a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he focused on research in robotics. Martin and his family are relocated to the Los Angeles area from the East Coast.

    See Martin Buehler's Crunchbase profile
  • Sangbae Kim

    Sangbae Kim

    Prof. Sangbae Kim, is the director of the Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory and an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. His research focuses on the bio-inspired robot design by extracting principles from animals. Kim's achievements on bio-inspired robot development include the world's first directional adhesive inspired from gecko lizards, and a climbing robot, Stickybot, that utilizes the directional adhesives to climb smooth surfaces featured in TIME's best inventions in 2006. Recent achievement includes the development of the MIT Cheetah capable of stable outdoor running up to 13mph and autonomous jumping over an obstacles at an efficiency of animals. This achievement was covered by more than 300 media articles. He is a recipient of King-Sun Fu Memorial Best Transactions on Robotics Paper Award (2008), DARPA YFA(2013), NSF CAREER (2014) award, and Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching.

    See Sangbae Kim's Crunchbase profile
  • Rodney Brooks

    Rodney Brooks

    A mathematics undergraduate in his native Australia, Rodney received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford in 1981. From 1984 to 2010, he was on the MIT faculty, and completed his service as a Professor of Robotics. He was also the founding Director of the Institute’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and served in that role until 2007. In 1990, he co-founded iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT), where he served variously as CTO, Chairman and board member until 2011.

    Rodney has been honored by election to the National Academy of Engineering, and has been elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association of Computing Machinery, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Rodney is also an accomplished presenter, and speaks regularly to promote the value of robotics and artificial intelligence in venues throughout the world.

    See Rodney Brooks's Crunchbase profile


We regard our audience, from students to CEOs, as one close community bound together by their commitment and passion to robotics. To view all participants of this event click the button below


Throughout the day, you will have the chance to participate in a number of expert-led, interactive workshops for a deeper dive into specific topics.

Robotics Workshops

The mission of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is “to prevent and create strategic surprise by developing breakthrough technologies for national security.” The agency’s project-oriented approach to science and engineering, however, is different both in approach and execution from other U.S. governmental funding agencies. In this workshop, DARPA leadership will discuss the Agency’s vision and goals, provide overviews of each of the organization’s technical offices, in addition to an explanation of the mechanics of working with DARPA. The objective of the workshop is to elicit help in fomenting institutional evolution in America’s broader science and technology ecosystem that is needed to better and more rapidly respond to future challenges.

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is tasked with researching activities around the bleeding edge of technology. Attendees of this workshop will get an insider’s look at some of the hottest projects being developed in CSAIL’s labs and engineering bays. Robert Katzschmann will present Soft Robotics and the team’s creative approach to allowing robots to manipulate objects. Claudia Perez D’Arpino’s presentation will demonstrate how robots can learn from a single demo and Andrew Spielberg will explain a novel process to create and fabricate robots.

Building Roboticists
David Barrett, a professor of mechanical engineering at Olin College, Ryan Keenan, curriculum lead for Udacity, and Dr. Robert McMahan, President of Kettering University will lead a workshop discussing their views on the best way to train the next generation of roboticists. Each of these educators leads vastly different programs, but the aim is universal: to train the next generation of globally competitive engineers. It’s important that these students learn through hands-on experience how to not only write code, but deploy code in a viable manner that results in a sustainable product.

Sponsor Opportunities


Seating is limited and we are anticipated to sell out. Secure your seat today!

General Admission Ticket


  • Includes access to TC Sessions: Robotics main session and workshops, networking sessions and closing reception
  • Breakfast and lunch is provided with ticket admission


TechCrunch Session: Robotics ticket purchases cancelled by June 15, 2017 for a full refund. Tickets cancelled June 16 and later are not eligible for a refund for any reason.

Student Tickets 

Students currently enrolled in a college or university program are eligible for reduced admission ($40) to TC Sessions: Robotics. To apply for this rate, send a copy of your current transcripts showing your current enrollment status and a copy of your university identification card to Upon approval, you will be provided instructions on how to complete your registration.

Volunteer Opportunities

We’re looking for a few great volunteers to help us make TC Sessions: Robotics happen. If you’d like to get some practical experience working at events as well as come to the event for free, let us know by filling out this form by Thursday, July 13.