October 15, 2015      

Despite concerns about underrepresentation in technical fields, several noteworthy women are leading research, development, and commercialization of a wide range of robotics technologies.

These 10 women aren’t just role models for female students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); they’re also examples of robotics and artificial intelligence innovators, regardless of gender.

For instance, Julie Carpenter and Vanessa Evers are researching human-machine interactions. “My research investigates the human side of human-robot teamwork, and then suggests practical applications based on these research findings in order to aid successful task and mission outcomes,” said Carpenter who has studied the emotional bonds between soldiers and robots on the battlefield.

Adriana Tapus is working on therapeutic robots to assist the physically and cognitively disabled, and Sabine Hauert is studying the vast potential of nanomedicine.

Soon, however, many people will be interacting with robots at work, where Anca Dragan’s research on robots that can anticipate the actions of their human colleagues will be useful. Before they can be used, however, robots must first be programmed, which is the focus of Steffi Paepcke at the Open Source Robotics Foundation.

M. Bernadine Dias is part of the Qatar Robotics Innovation Lab (Qri8, prounouced “Create”), which is working on robots for disaster response, assistive technology, and reception.

Melonee Wise’s Fetch addresses the logistics industry’s urgent needs, and Rosanna Myers has gotten Qualcomm support for an open platform. In 2011, Myers was a finalist in the Bluetooth Innovation World Cup with a connected medical device.

Robots will also soon enter homes, where Cynthis Breazeal’s Jibo could be a valued helpmate. But don’t just take our word for it — see on the following pages what these leading women have to say about their work — in their own words.

Of course, this is just a sample of the extraordinary individuals involved in robotics. Who do you know that should be on this list?