Vivian Chu Profile: Vivian Chu is an American roboticist and businesswoman who was born around 1987 and specializes in how people and robots can connect with each other. She is the Chief Technology Officer of Diligent Robotics, a company she helped start in 2017 that makes robots that can move around on their own and understand how to interact with other people.
Vivian Chu Profile
She was born in San Jose, California, and got her bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2009. She first worked as a research assistant in Dennis K. Lieu’s lab and then at IBM Almaden Research, where she worked on clever information integration and natural language processing. Chu quit IBM Almaden in 2011 to get her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania. There, she studied haptic technology to help robots connect with their surroundings and understand the vague words people use to describe how that contact feels.
Chu and her coworkers taught PR2 robots with haptic sensors how to touch things and connect the sensor’s data with a human-given word that describes how the item feels when touched. The robots learned these connections and then applied what they had learned to things they hadn’t touched yet. They also used a word to describe things, just like a person would. Chu wrote a paper about this work as the first author in 2013. That paper won the Best Paper in Cognitive Robotics award at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics.
Chu did a job at Honda Research Institute over the summer after getting her Master’s degree in 2013 and then continued her graduate studies at Georgia Tech. She worked toward her PhD in robotics with Andrea L. Thomaz in the Socially Intelligent Machines Lab and Sonia Chernova in the Robot Autonomy and Interactive Learning Lab with her help. The main thing she worked on was making programs that let robots think about how their actions affect others and connect with their surroundings in flexible ways.
Chu and Andrea Thomaz started Diligent Robotics together in 2017. Chu used to be an intern at Google. Chu became the full-time Chief Technology Officer after getting her PhD in 2018. Its main goal is to make robots that are socially aware and can help people with tasks at home and at work. Poli was the first clinical helper. It was a one-arm robot that brought in supplies ahead of time so nurses could spend more time with patients. Moxi, the company’s second healthcare support robot, is a reconditioned Poli that looks and acts more like a person. In 2020, the company raised $10 million in Series A. The next year, led by Tiger Global, it raised over $30 million in Series B. Time’s 100 Best Inventions, the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer, and Newsweek’s America’s Greatest Disruptors have all named Diligent Robotics a leader in new technology.