Laura Herlant, PhD, is a senior robotics research scientist at IRobot. Her main research interest lies in machine learning and artificial intelligence applied to consumer robotics. She believes that the robotics revolution will not come in the form of humanoid butlers solving generic manipulation problems, but rather in increasingly advanced specialized smart appliances which learn and customize themselves to their users. To that end, she is researching new applications of deep learning, reinforcement learning, and artificial intelligence models within the home to make AI accessible and useful beyond just research labs.
With her Hertz Foundation and NSF Fellowships, Laura completed her PhD in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in the Personal Robotics Lab. In her doctoral work, she developed algorithms to enable a wheelchair-mounted robot arm to autonomously assist in feeding people with upper limb disabilities. Prior to studying at CMU, Laura obtained a BS in computer engineering at Georgia Tech, and completed master’s courses in robotics and independent research at ENSTA ParisTech in Paris.