Advisory Board



Wolfram Burgard

Professor and Founding Chair 
Department of Engineering
University of Freiburg

Wolfram Burgard is the founding chair of the department of Engineering, University of Technology, Nuremberg, Germany. He was the VP for Automated Driving Technology at the Toyota Research Institute in Los Altos, USA and held a Professorship for Autonomous Intelligent Systems at the University of Freiburg, Germany. His interests lie in AI and Robotics. He has made substantial contributions to several relevant problems in robotics including state estimation, navigation, localization, SLAM and mobile manipulation. For his work, Wolfram Burgard received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the most prestigious German research award, and an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. He is fellow of the AAAI, the EurAI, as well as the IEEE. He also served as President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. 



Scott Dresser

Vice President Robotics

Scott (EE ’89) joined Amazon in 2012 as part of the acquisition of Kiva Systems, a Massachusetts based start‐up focused on developing robotics automation solutions for e‐commerce fulfillment. His strategic leadership has guided the organization through the initial automation of Amazon's fulfillment centers to today where Amazon has deployed over 100,000 robots in its fulfillment network. Scott led the software architecture team that developed the strategy and architecture for the migration of Kiva’s software to a scalable service‐based architecture for managing and optimizing large fleets of robotics and automation. In his current role at Amazon, Scott runs a global robotics team focused on developing robotics product and technology strategy, engineering robotics solutions and deploying robotics and automation for Amazon’s world-wide operations network.

Scott draws from his experience as part of a founding team in three pre‐IPO ventures to implement his hands‐on approach to hire and develop the infrastructure required to build and grow new engineering teams. Prior to his role at Amazon Robotics, Scott was with Airvana Inc., where he led engineering teams to develop robust and scalable products that are at the core of cellular data networks throughout the US and much of Asia. Scott holds a Degree of Engineer and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Stanford University, Graduate School of Engineering and received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s School of Engineering. Scott is a published author and accomplished patent holder.



Tom Fuhlbrigge

Scalable Robotics

Tom Fuhlbrigge is a founder and the CEO at Scalable Robotics, which provides a Code-free, CAD free, Point and Click programming solution for industrial robotics.

With more than 25 years at global robotics powerhouse ABB, Tom led the corporation’s US based robotics R&D team for 16 years, and also served as ABB’s Global Program Manager for Next Generation Robotics.  Tom has a long record of innovation with 66 granted US Patents and has a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. He also served his country as an officer in the US Navy.

Well known in the university community, he led ABB’s sponsorship of research projects at MIT, CMU, Berkeley, WPI, MSU, Case-Western, USC, and more.



Robert D. Howe

Harvard University

Robert D. Howe is Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering in the Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Dr. Howe founded the Harvard BioRobotics Laboratory in 1990, which investigates the roles of sensing and mechanical design in motor control, in both humans and robots. His research interests center on manipulation, the sense of touch, and human-machine interfaces. A major focus is the development of image-guided and robotic surgical applications. Dr. Howe earned a bachelors degree in physics from Reed College, then worked as a design engineer in the electronics industry in Silicon Valley. He received a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 1990, and then joined the faculty at Harvard. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and AIMBE. Lab web site:



Chris Jones


Dr. Chris Jones is the Chief Technology Officer at iRobot Corporation. He joined iRobot in 2005 and his responsibilities are centered on long-term technology planning and strategy and fostering strategic partnerships to advance the state-of-the-art in practical robotics. Prior to joining iRobot, he was involved in robotics research and development at the Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems at the University of Southern California, the Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center at Sandia National Laboratories, and the Robotics Research Lab at Texas A&M University. Dr. Jones received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California and his B.S. in Computer Engineering from Texas A&M University.



Dean Kamen

Founder and President
DEKA Research

Dean Kamen is an inventor and holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents, many of them for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide. While still a college undergraduate, he invented the first wearable infusion pump, which rapidly gained acceptance from such diverse medical specialties as oncology, neonatology, and endocrinology. In 1976, he founded his first medical device company, AutoSyringe, Inc., and working with leading diabetes researchers, Dean pioneered the design and adoption of the first portable insulin pump. He also founded DEKA Research & Development Corporation to develop internally generated inventions as well as to provide research and development for major corporate clients. Kamen led DEKA's development of many innovative systems, including the HomeChoiceTM peritoneal dialysis system, which quickly became the worldwide market leader, the iBOTTMmobility device, and the Segway® Human Transporter.

Kamen has received many awards for his efforts. Notably, Kamen was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2000. Presented by President Clinton. Kamen was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1997. He was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2002, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May 2005. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering, as well as many other national and international engineering organizations. In 2010, Dean hosted the Planet Green television series Dean of Invention.

In addition to DEKA, one of Dean's proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Founded in 1989, this year FIRST® will serve more than 1,000,000 young people, ages 6 to 18, in more than 86 countries around the globe. Last year, high-school-aged participants were eligible to apply for more than $50 million in scholarships from over 200 leading colleges, universities, and corporations.



Rich Mahoney

Vice President Research

Rich Mahoney is Vice President Research at Intuitive. He leads technology research and translation efforts around the company’s mission, working with other functions to identify innovations and opportunities for new products to bring to market. His extensive robotics development background and experience as a founder of several companies shapes his leadership to contribute to Intuitive’s strategic vision. 

Prior to joining, Rich was the founder and CEO of Seismic, a spin-off venture from SRI International, focused on improving quality of life through Powered Clothing, a new approach to wearable robotics designed to enhance mobility and overall quality of life for employee safety and consumer health.  Prior to Seismic, Rich was the Director of SRI Robotics for more than seven years, where he led a team delivering cutting-edge robotics innovations. Rich was responsible for the licensing and spin-out of SRI Robotics technology into new ventures, including Redwood Robotics, Grabit, Verb Surgical, Yamaha’s Motobot, Enaex’s Robot Miner, and Abundant Robotics.  Rich was also the founding President of Silicon Valley Robotics.  

He received his B.S. and M.S. from Drexel University, and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Cambridge, England, where he attended on a Fulbright Scholarship. 



Laura Major


Laura Major is the CTO at Motional, an autonomous driving joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv PLC. Previously she was CTO of CyPhy Works, a leading tethered UAV company, and was a Division Leader of 100 engineers at Draper Laboratory where she developed the first Human-Centered Engineering capability and expanded it to include Machine Intelligence and AI. At Draper Laura led the research program under which ATAK, an Android app used by the troops, was developed. During her tenure at Draper she was honored with the annual Innovation Award and Mentoring Award.

Laura was honored by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) with the Emerging Leader Award in 2014. Mass High Tech honored Laura as one of its 2014 “Women to Watch”. Laura has an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and a BS from Georgia Tech. She has over 20 technical publications and co-authored What to Expect When You're Expecting Robots: The Future of Human-Robot Collaboration (Basic Books, 2020).



Dan Mantz

CEO & Chairman of the Board
Robotics Education & Competition Foundation

Dan Mantz is an executive leader with over 25 years of engineering experience solving complex problems in the software, electrical, and mechanical fields. He has a proven track record of building high performance teams, while managing product development, business operations, marketing, and strategy. Dan is a respected innovator in the highly technical robotics industry with an unrelenting passion for the world of educational and competitive robotics.

Dan’s industrial robotics career took shape at FANUC Robotics where as a Sr. Controls Engineer, he developed and implemented controls systems at manufacturing facilities globally. As Product Development Director, he oversaw the development of industrial painting robots, paint application equipment, linear rail and electrical products. Dan left FANUC to become President of Rack Solutions, developing hundreds of new IT infrastructure products.

Now as CEO and of the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, Dan is committed to making robotics-engineering programs accessible to all schools and communities.



Anastasia Mavrommati

Senior Robotics Research Scientist

Dr. Anastasia Mavrommati is a Senior Robotics Research Scientist at MathWorks in the Advanced Research & Technology Office. In her current role, she aims to bridge the gap between commercially available technologies and the state of the art in research by conducting research internally, collaborating with academic researchers worldwide, and uncovering and evaluating research trends. Her research and technology interests include trajectory optimization, model predictive control, robotic manipulators, UAVs, and virtual reality simulation environments.

Previously, she worked as a Research Scientist within the Robotics department at the Schlumberger-Doll Research Center, where she developed robotic technologies and coordinated their deployment to oil & gas field operations, focusing on control of robotics manipulators and autonomous aerial inspection. She obtained her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University, IL, USA, specializing in real-time algorithms for symbol-based automation with applications to real-time exploration and information acquisition for high-dimensional robots. She also has a M.S. from Northwestern University with a focus on human-in-the-loop assistive algorithms for rehabilitation therapy.

She currently serves as Editor for ICRA and Associate Editor for CCTA and has received the Outstanding Associate Editor award for ICRA 2022.



Daniel Patt

Executive Advisor
Thomas H Lee Partners

Daniel Patt, PhD serves as Executive Advisor to Thomas H Lee Partners (THL), which makes automation investments and holds AutoStore Systems and MHS in its portfolio. Additionally, he is Chief Strategist for STR, an artificial intelligence and cyber-security company. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer of Vecna Robotics, a pioneer in software-as-a-service material handling robotics. He co-founded that company and led it up to its Series B funding. He is a technology executive with extensive experience in operationalizing artificial intelligence, robotics, logistics, unmanned vehicles, and distributed systems.

Prior to joining Vecna Robotics, Patt managed nearly half a billion dollars in annual technology investments at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. A key theme across his career is a focus on delivering technical solutions to support human-machine collaboration. He has pioneered solutions for multi-agent teaming, workflow orchestration, human-machine interface, and automated system self-regulation in pursuit of human-machine symbiosis.

He is among Boston Business Journal’s 2019 40 under 40, was an honoree for the Samuel Heyman Service to America Medals and MassTLC 2019 CEO of the Year, and is a recipient of the University of Michigan’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award for Aerospace Engineering. He holds a PhD from the University of Michigan.



Al Rizzi

Chief Technology Officer
Boston Dynamics AI Institute

Dr. Alfred Rizzi is currently the Chief Technology Officer at The Boston Dynamics AI Institute where he leads research efforts focused on the intersection of AI and robotics. Previously, he spent 17 years as the Chief scientist at Boston Dynamics, leading research and product development efforts. Prior to 2006, he was an Associate Research Professor in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University where he directed research projects focused on hybrid sensor-based control of complex and distributed dynamical systems. Before attending graduate school Dr. Rizzi worked for the Northrop Corporation as a test equipment design engineer. Dr. Rizzi received the Sc.B, degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He received the M.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1990 and 1994 respectively. He has authored over 50 papers in academic journals and conferences and is a co-inventor on more than 10 patents. Dr. Rizzi is a co-recipient of the Nakamura Prize for best paper at the International Symposium on Intelligent Robots and Systems in 2001. He is a member of the IEEE and also serves on the advisory boards of the robotics programs at Johns Hopkins University.



Tom Ryden


Thomas Ryden is the Executive Director of MassRobotics. MassRobotics is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the robotics community and help grow the next generation of robotics and connected device companies.

Prior to joining MassRobotics Mr. Ryden was the founder and CEO/COO of VGo Communications, Inc. Mr. Ryden oversaw the development and launch of the VGo telepresence robot. The VGo is used by hospitals, eldercare facilities, schools and other organizations.

Previously, Mr. Ryden was Director of Sales & Marketing at iRobot Corporation. Under his leadership iRobot secured over $300M in contracts and revenue from its government and industrial products increased from $2M to over $80M annually. In addition Mr. Ryden held roles in program management, overseeing the development of some of iRobot’s most successful products.

Mr. Ryden is the co-chairman of the robotics cluster of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and serves on the Mechatronics & Robotics Engineering (MRE) Education Advisory Board and the Robotics Technical Advisory Panel for ASME. He also is an advisor to a number of robotics start-ups. Mr. Ryden has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Bentley University.



Youssef Saleh

CEO and Founder
Ava Robotics

Youssef Saleh is an entrepreneurial leader with a passion for turning ideas into profitable and growing businesses. He is Founder and CEO of Ava Robotics, an iRobot spin-off focused on autonomous intelligent navigating robots for enterprise, commercial and industrial environments. Previously, Youssef was SVP and GM of the Remote Presence Business Unit and emerging businesses at iRobot, where he was responsible for iRobot’s industry-leading autonomous intelligent mobile robots for commercial applications. Prior to iRobot, Youssef was VP/GM of Telepresence & Vertical Solutions at Polycom where he successfully incubated and established growing businesses from the ground up. He started his career as a software engineer and has a BSEE in Computer Science Engineering from Northeastern University.

Youssef is a passionate soccer player and coach. He holds a USSF national “B” coaching license. He has coached highly competitive youth teams for the past 20 years.



Shigeki Sugano

Professor and Dean of School of Creative Science and Engineering
Waseda University

Shigeki Sugano received the B.S., M.S., and Dr. of Engineering degrees in Mechanical engineering in 1981, 1983, and 1989 from Waseda University. Since 1990, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Waseda, where he is currently a professor. Since 2014, he has served as the Dean of the School/Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering, Waseda University.

His research interests include human-symbiotic anthropomorphic robot design, dexterous and safe manipulator design, and human-robot communication. He received many awards, and he is a fellow of the IEEE, SICE, JSME, and RSJ.

He served as an AdCom member of the IEEE RAS from 2008 to 2013. He served as the Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Advanced Robotics from 2007 to 2012. He served as the President of the SICE in 2017. He served as the General Chair of the IROS2013 in Tokyo.



Deborah Theobald

Vecna Technologies

Deborah has spent over 20 years developing and deploying automation solutions to the health care sector across the globe. As the Co-Founder of Vecna, a leader in health care information technology and robotics, Deborah has positively impacted millions of peoples' lives through innovative new technologies that improve access to and quality of care. Deborah has brought to market QC PathFinder for electronic outbreak surveillance of hospital acquired infections (HAIs) and Patient Self Service Kiosk, Portal and Mobile solutions. Vecna's Department of Defense funded BEAR (Battlefield Extraction and Recovery) and the QC Bot Hospital Logistics Robots are among a number of robotic tools and products fulfilling Vecna's goal of better technology for a better world. In 2009, Deborah established the Vecna Cares Charitable Trust to extend Vecna resources in IP, engineering capacity and programmatic expertise to developing countries and under-served areas. Deborah is actively engaged in forging new community partnerships around the world with the goal of improving quality and access to health care through the establishment of local, point-of-care patient data tools to regional information technology infrastructures. During her tenure as Executive Director of Vecna Cares Deborah has been at the forefront of in-country deployment and training of CliniPAK in Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, Haiti and the USA.Deborah obtained her SB in Aerospace Engineering from MIT and her Masters with an emphasis in space robotics from University of Maryland's Space Systems Lab. Her thesis included a video-based, comparative study of human posture in Earth gravity, an underwater simulated space environment, and in a simulated micro-gravity environment on NASA's KC-135 micro-gravity simulator, the Vomit Comet. Deborah is a certified SCUBA Diver Instructor and the proud mother of 5 very active children.

Advisory Board Emeritus Members



Simon DiMaio

Director of Research
Intuitive Surgical

Simon DiMaio leads Applied Research projects at Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Sunnyvale, California), makers of the da Vinci Surgical System – a telerobotic system for minimally-invasive surgery. Simon holds a Ph.D. in robotics and control systems from the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he explored haptics and teleoperation technologies, and then went on to develop some of the very first needle insertion models and novel robotic needle steering methods for medical applications. Prior to moving to Intuitive Surgical, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship and later held an appointment as Instructor of Radiology at the Harvard Medical School, as a member of the Surgical Planning Laboratory (SPL) at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. At the SPL, he developed systems for MRI-compatible medical robots, as well as methods for navigated endoscopy and interventional guidance. In addition to R&D projects at Intuitive, Simon is involved in the development of academic relationships and programs, as well as the exploration of future platforms and applications of robotics and technology in medicine.



Roberto Valenti

Senior Robotics Research Scientist

Roberto G. Valenti is currently a Senior Robotics Research Scientist at MathWorks. His research interests include Robotics, robotics sensing for navigation, sensor fusion, mobile autonomous robots (self-driving cars, unnamed aerial vehicles), inertial navigation and orientation estimation, control, computer vision, and deep learning. Previously, he worked as a Research and Development Engineer within the Autonomous Driving team at Nvidia. He obtained a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the City University of New York, The City College, NY, USA where he focused his research on state estimation and control for autonomous navigation of micro aerial vehicles. Dr. Valenti received his M.Sc. in Electronics Engineering from the University of Catania, Italy.