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 EDT
  • 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 Anil Nanduri (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

  • 3:35 pm - 4:15 pm

    Robotics Startup Pitch-off

    Contestants: CP Robotics, Hand4Help, 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 Bruce Welty (Locus Robotics)

  • 5:05 pm - 5:15 pm

    Demo with Sangbae Kim (MIT Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory)

  • 5:15 pm - 5:20pm

    Wrap Up 

  • 5:20 pm - 7:00 pm


Latest TC Sessions: Robotics News

More Stories

Event Participants

  • Heather Ames
  • 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
  • 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, product strategy and innovation consultant, and author who has brought numerous hardware and software products to market. Elaine enjoys helping teams find their own way forward by inspiring entrepreneurial thinking. As Founder and Managing Director of ConceptSpring, Elaine works with leaders in established businesses to help them set up and run new product innovation initiatives with the speed and agility of a startup. 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 verticals from consumer electronics, robotics, CAD/CAM, IT solutions for apparel design, manufacturing and retail, to hardware and software solutions in retail and omni-channel commerce.

    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, she received the Monosson Prize for Entrepreneurship Mentoring by the MIT Sloan School of Management in recognition of her contributions to foster entrepreneurship education at MIT.

    Elaine is a thought leader and has been featured in Xconomy, TechCrunch, Forbes and Fortune. She regularly blogs about topics in leadership, entrepreneurship and corporate entrepreneurship. She is active in the community and a sought after speaker. 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 MIT-China Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum, MIT Global Entrepreneurial Bootcamp in Seoul and MakerCon Bay Area.

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

    See Elaine Chen'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

    R. David Edelman served as Special Assistant to President Obama for Economic & Technology Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC). R. David Edelman played three roles in the Administration: as leader of the White House team managing issues at the intersection of technology and economic policy; as strategic advisor to the President; and as product manager of an over $15 billion portfolio of signature Presidential programs. He also served as the NEC’s industry and public-facing lead on technology matters, regularly addressing industry summits ,and working closely with company General Counsels and CEOs facing specific public policy challenges at home and abroad.

    In his role at the NEC, he has overseen the economic team’s policy development and implementation on broadband/telecom, Internet policy, high-tech trade, competition/antitrust, and homeland security matters —including cyber security, privacy, and intelligence reform.

    R. David Edelman received his Doctorate and Master’s in International Relations from Oxford University, where he was a Clarendon Scholar, and his Bachelor’s (with honors) in History from Yale University.

    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
  • Dan Jones

    Dan Jones

    Dan Jones is the Co-Founder and CTO of VictorOps, a Vertical Collaboration Platform (VCP) designed to enable software operations teams - Ops, DevOps and TechOps - to solve problems regardless of physical location, connected device, or time of day. With almost 25 years in the software industry, Dan has spent the last 15 years architecting and building scalable 24x7 internet services designed to be “always on.” Having served as Chief Architect and VP of Engineering at two successful start-ups in this space (Raindance Communications and Lijit Networks), he is intimately familiar with what it takes to keep a business running when the slightest outage means lost revenue and unhappy customers.

    His operations horror story? A 3am alert for slow database response times during the early days at Lijit. After a few hours of troubleshooting with the DBA and sys admin teams, an issue was discovered with the iSCSI file system which ran the entire company infrastructure. The vendor was contacted and a problem with the iSCSI firmware was confirmed. Major upgrades were required and large portions of the infrastructure had to be taken down for this to take place. Through heroic, round-the-clock efforts of the IT and engineering teams, a tricky chess game took place to move around critical VM’s while upgrading iSCSI servers. The team worked non-stop for almost two days but any downtime was successfully averted.

    Dan’s motto:
    "You know that thing that you thought would never happen? Trust me, it will, and it’s usually in the middle of the night. It’s at that moment when the resourcefulness and dedication of your DevOps team is tested and as a manager you’re most proud."

    See Dan 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
  • Anil Nanduri

    Anil Nanduri

    Anil Nanduri is Vice President in the New Technology Group and General Manager of the UAV segment at Intel Corporation. He is responsible for establishing Intel’s unmanned aviation systems business and pursuing opportunities for growth in this segment. This group provides ingredients and end to end systems for the drone ecosystem. Additionally, his group has been developing innovative new usages such as the Drone 100 aerial light show. He also served on the FAA’s Micro UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee.

    Nanduri initially joined Intel in 1997 as a chipset design engineer and has held since held many roles contributing to the success of several Intel platforms. Nanduri received his bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the College of Engineering, Trivandrum, in India; and his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He holds one U.S patent, with another patent pending.

    See Anil Nanduri'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

    Andreas Raptopoulos is the founder and CEO of Matternet, a Silicon Valley startup launching a new paradigm of transportation using networks of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

    Matternet uses lightweight, electric UAVs capable of transporting 2kg packages between automated landing stations. This new mode for transportation will be the most energy-efficient way for last-mile delivery of small packages in the cities of the future and in remote rural areas, especially where road networks are not well-developed.

    Previously, Andreas founded FutureAcoustic, a venture that developed a new platform for music that listens and reacts to the user's environment.

    Andreas holds a diploma in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics from the University of Patras, Greece; a Diploma of Imperial College in Industrial Design Engineering; and a Master of Arts from the Royal College of Art in London, UK.

    He attended Singularity University at NASA Ames in 2011, a 10-week summit of future leaders, entrepreneurs, and technologists working on technology solutions to widespread global challenges. He participated in the inaugural Google Solve for X forum, a forum set up to encourage ‘moonshot thinking’. In 2012 he was named a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, one of 12 high-potential change agents from around the world who are working on highly disruptive innovations. He was a speaker at TED Global in the summer of 2013.

    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 Mobile Business Unit at NVIDIA. He joined the company in February 2013 as vice president of Tegra Business Development, responsible for expanding Tegra’s presence in the smartphone and tablet markets.

    He previously worked for more than 10 years at Texas Instruments. Most recently, he was general manager of TI’s mobile computing business unit, responsible for the company’s proprietary OMAP system-on-chip for mobile multimedia applications, as well as deployment of Google assets such as Android on OMAP for the mobile and embedded markets.

    Talla previously was head of business development for OMAP smartphones, and also held roles in TI’s video conferencing and digital imaging units. He first joined the company in 2001 as a systems architect.

    Talla has authored several issued patents and holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from Andhra University in India, a master’s 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 founded Vecna in 1999 with the mission to empower humanity through transformative technologies. With the guiding philosophy that automation is the key to developing a more sustainable and equitable future, Daniel has worked with several renowned institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) to develop automation solutions across a number of industries. In healthcare, Daniel and his team developed the Patient Information Exchange platform, a patient-centric platform that pulls from siloed health information systems to give patients the ability to interact with their healthcare provider online, on-site, or on-the-go. Daniel has designed and developed autonomous mobile robots for use in healthcare, education, logistics, and hospitality. His logistics platform incorporates the autonomous navigation, machine perception, manipulation, and multiple agent coordination. These technologies combined improve safety and productivity while revolutionizing the customer experience. Daniel speaks regularly at industry meetings and conferences. Past events include ASTM, RoboUniverse, InnoRobo, WGBH Innovation Hub, TEDxBeaconStreet. He has also been published CIO Review, Control Engineering, and InTech, and reference by Modern Materials Handling, Design News, The Economist, CNN, and the History Channel among others. Daniel is a graduate of MIT and serves on the Board of Directors for MassRobotics.

    See Daniel Theobald's Crunchbase profile
  • Carl Vause

    Carl Vause

    Carl is CEO of Soft Robotics Inc. 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 Founder - Chairman Bruce has been a pioneer and visionary in automating warehouses since before the Internet. He has built, bought and sold some of the industry’s most innovative companies. He’s automated warehouses for Fortune500s, e-Commerce startups, and even built a fulfillment company that ships more than $1 billion worth of e-Commerce orders each year. It was his direct experience with warehouses, fulfillment, and robotics that inspired to build an entirely new solution.

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

    Andy Wheeler

    Andy Wheeler 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
  • Helen Zelman

    Helen Zelman

    Helen Zelman Boniske is a partner at Lemnos, a seed stage investment firm based out of San Francisco. Prior to Lemnos Ms. Boniske spent five seasons working in the front office of the Arizona Diamondbacks as the Coordinator for the Scouting Department. Ms. Boniske received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    See Helen Zelman's Crunchbase profile


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.