Creator of adorable robots


b. 1986, HK.


Highlights :

  • Published 7 academic papers on Robotics, AI, and education

  • Shipped 4 consumer robots (Form One, Romo, 3DR Solo, Kuri)

  • Built and programmed DragonBot (the first robot to use a phone as its primary computer), securing a $10M NSF grant for socially assistive robots


  • University of Texas at Austin (BS, MS)

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MS)


Adam Setapen is a computer scientist and roboticist who is passionate about making products that are easy to use and self-improving. With concentrated academic research and real-world experience bringing consumer robots to market, he has become an expert in building and programming intelligent and adorable electromechanical systems. Adam thrives in environments that emphasize learning and collaboration, in which he can fully devote his skills to products and causes he cares about.

Adam has published papers on machine learning, robot design, learning from demonstration, and novel robot control interfaces. His academic research looks at how humans can bootstrap autonomous systems with sparse datasets obtained through real-world interactions. Since entering industry, his work has focused on making robots that are easy to use and that get better over time.

He has held positions as a Roboticist for Mayfield Robotics, AltSchool, Romotive, and 3D Robotics. Adam is a hacker at heart (and considers himself a "full-stack" roboticist), building his own robots and expressive objects to test his ideas. He loves empowering people to be builders, teaching hands-on robotics courses and spending as much time in the shop as he can.

Adam is currently a Senior Robotics Engineer at Primed, where he builds squishy conversational robots for kids. He also occasionally works as an expert educator for AltSchool, developing curriculum and teaching robotics to K-8 students. Adam received a Master's degree from the MIT Media Lab where he spent his time building furry dragon robots in the Personal Robots Group. Adam also earned an M.S. studying machine learning in the Learning Agents Research Group and a B.S. in the Turing Scholars Computer Science program, both at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a certified Yoga instructor, an eager snowboarder, an avid musician, and a bit of a coffee snob.