A Chat with Verity Studios Founder Dr. Raffaello D'Andrea

Posted on June 16, 2018


Interview with Raffaello D'Andrea from Queen's Engineering on Vimeo.

Dr. Raffaello D'Andrea spoke with Queen's Engineering undergraduate student, Andrew Churchill, at the Tearoom in Beamish-Munro Hall on June 7, 2018.

The key components of feedback control systems  sensors, actuators, computation, power, and communication  are continually becoming smaller, lighter, more robust, higher performance, and less expensive.  By using appropriate algorithms and system architectures, it is thus becoming possible to "close the loop" on almost any machine, and to create new capabilities that fully exploit their dynamic potential.  In this talk I will discuss various projects -- involving mobile robots, flying machines, and dynamic furniture  where these new machine competencies are interfaced with the ultimate dynamic entities: human beings. 

Spanning academics, business and the arts, Raffaello D'Andrea's career is built on his ability to bridge theory and practice. At the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, his research redefines the capabilities of autonomous systems.

D'Andrea is co-founder of Kiva Systems (acquired by Amazon in 2012, and now operating as Amazon Robotics), a robotics and logistics company that develops and deploys intelligent automated warehouse systems, with over 100,000 autonomous mobile robots deployed in Amazon warehouses alone. He was the faculty advisor and system architect of the Cornell Robot Soccer Team, four-time world champions at the international RoboCup competition. With his startup, Verity Studios, he recently created the flying machine design and choreography for Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour on Broadway, Zhang Yimou’s 2047 Apologue, Metallica’s WorldWired tour, and the Knicks opening act at Madison Square Garden in New York.

In addition, he is a new media artist with exhibitions at various international venues, including the Venice Biennale, the FRAC Centre and the National Gallery of Canada. Other creations and projects include the Flying Machine Arena, the Distributed Flight Array, the Balancing Cube, Cubli, Flight Assembled Architecture, the Blind Juggler, the Robotic Chair and RoboEarth.

His TED talks, with millions of views, have inspired a generation to pursue engineering, robotics, and computer science.