Yoky Matsuoka: A Pioneer in Robotics and Human Augmentation

Yoky Matsuoka is a renowned roboticist, neuroscientist, and entrepreneur who has made significant contributions to the field of robotics and human augmentation. She has dedicated her career to developing cutting-edge technologies that improve people’s lives by enhancing their physical capabilities.

Matsuoka was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1967. She grew up with a passion for sports, particularly tennis and basketball, and dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. However, a serious injury prevented her from pursuing her athletic goals. Instead, she turned her attention to science and technology, earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Kyoto University in 1988.

After completing her undergraduate studies, Matsuoka moved to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in robotics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT, she focused on developing robotic prostheses that could be controlled by signals from the user’s nervous system. Her groundbreaking research earned her a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1995.

After completing her Ph.D., Matsuoka continued her research on robotic prostheses and human augmentation at the University of Washington in Seattle. There, she developed a robotic hand that could mimic the movements of a human hand, allowing people with disabilities to perform complex tasks such as grasping and manipulating objects.

In 2007, Matsuoka joined Google to lead their robotics division, where she worked on developing robots that could perform tasks in environments that were dangerous or difficult for humans, such as disaster zones or space exploration. She also served as a Vice President at Nest, a company that specializes in smart home technology, and as the Chief Technology Officer at Quanttus, a startup that developed wearable health monitoring devices.

Matsuoka’s work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including the MacArthur Fellowship in 2007, which is often referred to as the “genius grant.” In addition to her research, Matsuoka is also a strong advocate for diversity in science and technology, and has spoken out about the importance of promoting gender and racial equality in STEM fields.

Today, Matsuoka is the CEO and Co-Founder of Amperity, a customer data platform that helps companies better understand and engage with their customers. While her current work is not directly related to robotics or human augmentation, her innovative spirit and commitment to improving people’s lives through technology continue to inspire others in the field.

In conclusion, Yoky Matsuoka is a trailblazer in the field of robotics and human augmentation, whose research has paved the way for new innovations and technologies that have the potential to transform people’s lives. Her dedication to diversity and inclusion in STEM fields serves as an inspiration to the next generation of scientists and technologists.