HerStory Thursdays: Helen Greiner


Helen_Greiner_11_270x337Almost every one these days has heard of the Roomba, a tiny, yet helpful, robot that cleans the messes in your house. Meet the women who helped created them. Helen Greiner co-founded iRobot in 1990 with Rodney Brooks and Colin Agile, and helped develop the first version of the iRobot Roomba. She spent the next 14 years working as the companies President before stepping down in 2004, and then spent the next 4 years serving as a chairman of the company. She lead iRobots foray into Military robotics, sending more than 6,000 robots to American troops during her time at iRobot.

In 2008, Greiner moved from iRobot and founded a own company, CyPhy Works, that builds Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for commercial and military markets. The drones her company builds deliver a lot, like high-quality video and secure communications through a small tethering line, and the first set of  LV1 Hexacopter drones is set to be shipped starting in 2016.

In 2008, Greiner was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame and in 2014 she was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Leadership by President Obama.

Helen Greiner continues to work with CyPhy Works and, in an interview with Robotics Business Review, gave some advice for students that can be applied everywhere:

I believe, and one of the advantages we have, is if you go out and try it and you fail, it’s not shameful. It’s a badge of honor. You have to have a mind-set where failures are just another part of the experience. You can get yourself up, dust yourself off, and then proceed from there….

These words can be applied to everyday life for everyone, whether you are a masters student studying robotics or a part time student working full time at a company in an entry level position. You can achieve and accomplish your goals, if only you believe.