Understanding The Human-Robot Connection




Understanding The Human-Robot Connection

16 May 2019

New York

Added 01-Jan-1970

Join us as we discuss the utopian robotic future with Alexis Block, inventor of HuggieBot and Andrew Flett, partner at Mobility Impact Partners (full bios below). This program is a joint effort between RobotLab, SOSA and Birthright Excel.

Alexis E. Block received her bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and two minors in Math and Engineering Entrepreneurship in 2016 from the University of Pennsylvania. The following year, 2017, she received her masters degree in Robotics, also from the University of Pennsylvania.

Alexis E. Block's doctoral research, HuggieBot, focuses on social-physical human-robot interaction. She is a Center for Learning Systems (CLS) Doctoral Fellow. Block currently works in the Computer Science Department at ETH Zürich. Her two ETH co-advisors are Roger Gassert (Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory) and Otmar Hilliges (Advanced Interactive Technologies). She is looking forward to rejoining her primary doctoral advisor, Dr. Katherine J. Kuchenbecker, and the rest of the Haptic Intelligence Department in January 2020.

Block was named a 2018 HRI Pioneer, and elected a General Chair for HRI Pioneers 2019. She also co-founded the MPI Athena Group to support women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, robotics, intelligent systems and related fields.


Andrew Flett has spent the last two decades investing in the technology industry; specializing in mobility, communications, security, software, and data analytics. At Mobility Impact Partners, he focuses exclusively on transportation mobility technologies that underpin the massive shift to electric and autonomous vehicles. Through Growth Control Capital, he splits his time between primary investment activities in the growth equity space and mentoring startups in the general technology space with a heavy concentration in connected vehicle technologies.

Prior to Growth Control Capital, Andrew spent 15 years at Investcorp as a Partner in the technology growth buyout business having responsibility for all facets of deal making. His track record includes international transaction experience throughout the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Asia including buyouts, carveouts, growth equity, general M&A, and IPOs; primarily for control equity situations though less frequently, substantial minority stakes.

Education credentials comprise a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Victoria and an MBA from the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania.