Angelica lim - Humanoids

Robotics Software Engineering Lead, SoftBank Robotics

Angelica is a lead roboticist at the world’s largest humanoid robotics company, with over 20,000 humanoid robots currently deployed in homes, stores, and research labs in over 60 countries. She has been fascinated by robots ever since she watched Rosie the Robot on the Jetsons. Today, she programs robots to be fun, interactive and empathetic. She believes in bringing back the humanity to our technology, in a world increasingly taken over by screens.

She has developed software for autonomous robots for over a decade in Japan, Canada and France, and is an expert in signal processing and artificial intelligence, specifically in the realm of emotions and developmental robotics — robots that learn like children. A native of Vancouver, BC, she holds a Ph.D. and Master’s in AI from Kyoto University in Japan, and a B.Sc. in Computing Science from Simon Fraser University.

Angelica's talk: Designing Sociable Robots with Emotional Intelligence



Michael Tolley - Bioinspired robots

Assistant Professor, UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute

Michael is the director and founder of the Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab at UC San Diego, where his team seeks to imbue automated systems with the qualities of their natural counterparts, including robustness, adaptability, and the ability to self-assemble. Before joining UC San Diego, Tolley was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, working in the Harvard Microbotics Laboratory from 2011 to fall 2014. He earned his Ph.D. and master’s degrees in the Creative Machines Lab (formerly Computational Synthesis Lab) at Cornell University. He has a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal. His work has been published in preeminent journals including Nature and Science Magazine, and featured in articles by leading news agencies, including NBC, CBS, CNN, BBC, CBC, etc.

Michael's talk: Why the future of robotics is soft


Ignacio Galiana - Exoskeletons

Program Lead, Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Ignacio is a program lead at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Currently, he is managing a team of engineers, postdocs, Ph.D. students, functional apparel designers, partners and clinical collaborators to develop a soft wearable exosuit that can assist human walking.

Galiana received his B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering, M.Sc. in Automation and Robotics and his Ph.D. in Automation and Control from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in 2013 during his Ph.D. where he received multiple awards including the “best Ph.D. thesis in Europe on haptics” by the EuroHaptics society. Prior to becoming a staff engineer, Galiana was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Biodesign Lab leading the design of control methods for soft exosuits to enhance human performance when walking overground.

Ignacio's talk: Next Generation Soft Wearable Robots to Assist Human Walking


George Babu - human-like robots

Co-founder, Chief Product Officer, Kindred


George is a co-founder and Kindred’s chief product officer. Before Kindred, George was an early stage venture investor at a $100 billion pension fund, co-founded an enterprise software company acquired by Salesforce, and engineered RF systems, managed patent portfolios and assisted with patent litigation at BlackBerry.

He enjoys cycling in the countryside, running in new places, and learning about anything and everything.

George is a graduate of the Engineering Science program at the University of Toronto specializing in electrical engineering. He also earned his JD and MBA from the University of Toronto, a Fellowship from the Kauffman Center for Venture Education, and studied product management at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. George holds several patents on predicting what a smartphone user is typing.

George's talk: Envisioning Role(s) for Humans in a World of Human-like Machines.


Hossein Rahnama - Contexutual computing

Founder & CEO, Flybits, Inc., professor, Ryerson, visiting scholar, MIT MediaLab

Dr. Hossein Rahnama is a recognized figure in ubiquitous computing and is the founder and chief executive officer of Flybits, a context-as-a-service company, with offices in Toronto and California. His research explores artificial intelligence, mobile human-computer interaction and the effective design of contextual services. Rahnama has written 30 publications and received 10 patents in ubiquitous computing. He is currently serving on the board of Canadian Science Publishing (CSP), was a council member of The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and is a visiting scholar at the Human Dynamics Group at MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass.


Jonathan Tippett - Mech racing

Founder, President and CTO, Furrion Robotics

Jonathan Tippett is a mechanical engineer with lifelong curiosity for the relationship between humans and machines. His education began with Plasticine and LEGO but culminated in a degree in Mechanical Engineering degree from UBC in 1999. His creative and  technical practice has included hosting a Discovery TV series, ceramic sculpture, marine hydraulics, martial arts, fuel cells, mountain biking, and biomedical research leading to several patents in the field of neurovascular implants.  

He is a founding director of the eatART Foundation, an educational art research laboratory with a 10 year history of deploying large scale, technically sophisticated interactive art works to explore our relationship with technology. His first large scale, human piloted machine was the Mondo Spider, a 750kg mechanical spider which has lead to exhibitions and lectures at University of Texas Dallas, ETH Zurich, UBC,  USA Science & Engineering Festival and Bal Robotov in Moscow. 

His current project is Prosthesis, a 3800kg, two story tall, human piloted, off-road racing mech.  He co-founded Furrion Robotics around this project, with the goal of creating an international mech racing league. The competing mechs will be 100% human controlled in celebration of the importance of human skill and the pursuit of physical mastery in a world where increasing automation threatens to undermine this essential human experience.

Jonathan's talk: Building Prosthesis - The Exo-Bionic Off Road Racing Mech


Krista Jones - future of work

Managing Director, Work and Learning at MaRS Discover District

Krista is the Managing Director of Work & Learning at MaRS. Krista has been a passionate innovator and builder of technology-based businesses for over 25 years, and has personally advised and been actively involved in over 200 startups.
For the past four years, Krista has been the driving force behind the creation of MaRS’ globally leading Work & Learning sector. She works with entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, investors and technologists who are applying innovation and leading-edge technologies to create solutions that are advancing the competitiveness of global workers and workplaces.
Krista has experience working in both large public companies and in startups. She is an engineer, entrepreneur, mentor and an expert at solving ambiguous problems. She has an unique combination of strategic, technical, operational and marketing expertise. She is known for her comprehensive knowledge of existing and emerging Information & Communications Technology (ICT) technologies and architectures as well as innovation practices. Krista and her husband owned a children’s technology educational franchise that fostered early innovation and creativity in robotics, animation, digital art and video game design.

Krista's panel: Living and working with smart machines.



Filmmaker at Eyeborg Project

Rob is a one eyed filmmaker who transformed his prosthetic eye into a wireless video camera to become a bionic documentary maker. Time Magazine named the Eyeborg cam as one of the 50 best inventions of the year. He also made a weird Canadian cult classic documentary a few years back called Let’s All Hate Toronto.

Rob has over 20 million Facebook video hits and has been featured on the Jimmy Fallon show and the Today Show.

Rob's talk: Hiborg!



Robotics Writer and Commentator

Former managing editor at, Hallie an artist, editor and science communications professional specializing in robotics, engineering, and architectural sciences. Her main interest exploring the socio-cultural impact of disruptive technologies.

Panelist: Living and working with smart machines.



Marketing Manager, SoftBank Robotics

Alia is the brand marketing manager at SoftBank Robotics America, helping script the conversation surrounding social humanoid robotics in our daily lives. She works with teams throughout SoftBank Robotics internationally, creating brand stories and messages to help guide the introduction of Pepper, the company’s flagship robot, to SoftBank Robotics customers and the public at large. Prior to joining SoftBank Robotics, Alia has worked in various marketing and communications roles for innovative technology startups as well as corporate giants like Tommy Hilfiger and Tiffany & Co.

Panelist: Living and working with smart machines.