Tuesday, 27 November 2012

From Robotics Research to Enterprise

Little did I realise what was in store for me when I started my Computer Science degree at the University. At the time as a struggling single parent, I could never have believed the fantastic journey that I was just setting out on - that it would lead to a PhD in robotics and then becoming CEO of my own international robotics and technology company, Que Innovations.

After completing my degree in 2001, I then went on to do a PhD with the world-renowned AuRoRA Project based at the University. My PhD investigated the use of robotics devices as tools or therapy aids for children with autism. In 2004, I spent some time with a research group in Canada as part of the project’s collaboration. This was an amazing opportunity, for both me and my young son, something that I am so grateful for.

I continued my post-doctoral research with the same group in Canada where I became increasingly frustrated that the results of my research didn’t seem to filter through to the real world. I would see children with severe autism laugh and be happy with a robotic device…but then we took the devices back to the lab and put them on a shelf! I really wanted to see the devices stay with the children, and so I decided to commercialise the best robotic device I had worked with, a device called KOULE.

That was almost four years ago. Now I am based between Canada and the USA and come to the UK as much as possible. And my company, Que Innovations, is just about to bring KOULE to market.

Doing a degree at the University of Hertfordshire is one of, if not, the best decision I have ever made. It gave me the tools and confidence I needed, which have enabled me to achieve the things I have in my life. I now have an international company that is bringing a product to market that can make a real difference in the world.

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