Greetings from the MiRo team!
Can you spot the professor? The developer? The one behind the hardware? The seasoned technology innovator and entrepreneur? The leading product designer? Or the technician? The bio’s below should give you a clue! They are just some of the people working diligently behind the scenes.
Two years on, the team has grown to include more technical, robotics and software wizards. If you haven’t met them before, here’s a list of who’s who in no particular order. We’re a friendly bunch and we’re keen to hear how our expertise can be used to drive the future of robotics in schools, universities and in our everyday lives. If we’ve missed something, just shoot us an email or drop us a line on any of our social media handles. We’d love to hear what you think!
Sebastian Conran CEO
An engineer at heart, Sebastian has design in the blood. Focused on designing technologies to make them more emotionally engaging. He is passionate about creating thoughtful and elegant products that are satisfying to use. He believes ‘form follows fabrication’ and that one must thoroughly understand how things are to be made and experienced before you put pencil to paper.
As CEO of Consequential Robotics and Sebastian Conran Associates design studio, Sebastian takes a hands-on, down-to-earth approach to all his design projects, sharing his wealth experience and manufacturing expertise with the design team. The studio’s designs have received many awards for design and innovation as well as being granted over fifty patents and design patents in various fields. From working in the Habitat design studio in the 1970’s to founding the Consequential Robotics in 2015, Sebastian's life has been focused on understanding how things are made, sold, used and experienced.
As well as creating ingenious, stylish and satisfying products, he is visiting Professor of Design and Innovation at Bristol Robotics Lab and Designer in Residence at the University of Sheffield’s engineering faculty.
David Lane CBE Executive Chairman
David brings thirty-five years of emerging technology and commercial experience in robotics to drive the company’s strategic leadership in education and healthcare. David is passionate about robotics and AI (RAI) and transforming its rich research into useful products and services that serve today’s unmet needs. His breadth of entrepreneurship includes leading technology startups into high-growth businesses which earned him the 2011 Praxis-Unico Business Impact Achieved Award, the 2013 Scottish Digital Technology Award for International Growth and the 2019 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Champion Award.
Originally trained as an electrical engineer and scientist, David has published over 300 papers in international journals and conferences, including creating and co-ordinating international multi-party RAI hubs and projects (ORCAHUB winner of the 2018 Guardian University Business Collaboration Award). With many strings to his bow, he is also the founding Director and Professor in the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, works alongside a range of venture capitalists and supports multi-national government-funded projects to develop RAI businesses from the research. David was appointed CBE in 2016 for services to engineering.
Tony Prescott MA MSc PhD FBPsS Co-Founder and Director
Tony is a world leading researcher in biomimetic robotics with over twenty-five years experience spanning psychology, neuroscience, AI and robotics. With his collaborators he has developed a variety of animal-like robotic systems, including the whiskered robots Scratchbot and Shrewbot that were the technological ancestors of our MiRo robot.
Tony originally graduated in psychology before studying for a Masters in applied AI and completing a PhD in machine learning. His current research focuses on human-robot interaction and brain-inspired social cognition for robots. In 2011, Tony co-founded Sheffield Robotics, an institute with more than 200 active researchers, which he currently directs, he also holds a Chair in Cognitive Robotics at the University of Sheffield. He was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 2011, in recognition of his contribution to that discipline, and was a 2018 Distinguished Fellow at the Sage Centre for the Study of Mind in Santa Barbara, California.
Tony’s academic research has generated more than 250 publications including the OUP “Handbook of Living Machines” and the Springer “Scholarpedia of Touch”. His research has received more than £7M in funding with current support from the European Union’s Human Brain Project and the Wellcome Trust. Tony’s role at Consequential Robotics includes being the interface to the international developer community exploring the potential for social robots in education, therapy, and healthcare.
Dr Ben Mitchinson BSc MSc PhD Co-Founder and CTO
Mitch has spent the last fifteen years studying both animals and automatic control systems, in parallel. His background is the physical sciences and engineering, within which he has broad experience of all things artificial. In software alone, he is familiar with more than twenty programming languages (and has written a couple). His passion is to bring those artificial systems to life - seeking links between biological and human-designed control systems and morphologies, and taking advantage of those links both to advance our understanding of animals and, at the same time, to begin to breathe life into our machines. Along the way, he spent quite a lot of time studying whiskers, so he has a soft spot for any animal sporting a set - which, as it turns out, is most of them.