Abstract: Transforming research robots into consumer products is a complex but fascinating task. This talk relates an entrepreneurial experience that starts at university with a capable but expensive robot, and follows through with a two-year journey to reinvent the robot into a product and place it on the market. It traces steps to transform robotics technology into a safe, efficient, and manufacturable system, integrate it into a product, and sell and market the product around the world. The talks reports on current development to make robots evolve over time, and presents thoughts on what it would take to make personal robots parts of everyone's daily life.
Sarjoun Skaff is a robotics entrepreneur with a mission to put robots in people's hands. He co-founded Bossa Nova Robotics, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff, to design, manufacture, and commercialize personal robots. Over the last four years, Dr. Skaff led technology development to transform laboratory-grade robotics into products, established the company's manufacturing operations overseas, and helped launch three products in worldwide markets and grow the company to over twenty five employees in three locations. He holds an MS and PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, where he worked on the control and state estimation for RHex, a six-legged dynamic robot, and on the construction of Skyworker, a robot designed for the assembly of space stations. He holds a BE in Mechanical Engineering from the American University of Beirut, where he received the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award in 2011.