• Avoiding the Temptation to Hire Badly

    It’s an interesting time in robotics in Pittsburgh. With Uber moving into the neighborhood, some of hype and bubble-making machinery of silicon valley is moving into the ‘Burgh, which has traditionally done a great job of balancing cutting edge advanced technology development with practical applications. This has an impact on many business areas, especially recruiting […]

  • Managing Growth

    This post is for those of you who are just starting out with your first companies. You’re faced with a million questions, many of them regarding growth, and how to manage it. You will desperately want to grow as quickly as possible. Sometimes that’s the right thing to do. Sometimes, a more measured approach leads […]

  • Entertaining a Cat with Robotics

    I’m primarily a software guy; not sure why since for most of my life I’ve played with electronics. I was soldering long before consumer computers even existed and I could start programming. And before I was soldering I was playing with a Radio Shack 100 in 1 electronic project kit ( But this lifelong interest […]

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    Tailoring Mechanical Designs for 3D-Printing

    Over the last 2 years I have owned and operated a personal 3D printer, as well as operated a 3D printer as part of my job at Neya Systems. I have created over a hundred unique part designs, and experienced the majority of the problems associated with 3D printers. Tailoring the design of a part […]

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    Visual Debugging

    After working a little while in robotics, I’ve become quite amazed at how easy it is to think and assume that my code is doing one thing, when in fact it is doing something totally different. My typical role as a robotics researcher has been on the perception side of things. This comes with the desire and […]

  • Another Example of Where “Fail Quickly” Would Have Helped

    I recently “completed” a home project that came right down to the wire.  This was a fairly unique project, in several respects.  For one, the project itself was to build an LED-laden helmet with sophisticated animation; something to resemble the helmets worn by the two members of the music group Daft Punk.  Another unique thing […]

  • Letter to a Young Roboticist

    (This letter is modeled after Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet.”) A few weeks ago, I made the tough decision to leave Neya Systems to return to practicing law full time.  I was fortunate to have a unique role at the company where I was the company’s attorney, director of commercialization, and also […]

  • A Look Inside Neya: An Intern’s Perspective

    I had a four week internship at Neya Systems and it was my first experience in a professional work environment. I was expecting a cold, calculating office because I was going to be surrounded by computer engineers. It didn’t help that my freshman year roommate was a computer science major who chose not to participate […]

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    Six Lessons from Being a Bootstrapper

    Robotics is starting to attract venture capital at an accelerating rate. There is significant growth in VC investment on both coasts, and the equity markets are starting to take notice. RoboStox is a growing ETF that focuses on robotics companies. Accelerator programs are clamoring for robotics-based ventures. Seed funding, and even Round A funding, is […]

  • An Engineer’s Guide to Unit Testing – CMake And Boost Unit Tests

    All programmers have heard of unit testing. Countless blogs discuss the importance of unit testing and how all projects should use it. Paragraph after paragraph of abstract discussion, yet no concrete examples. This post is for engineers, a step by step, 5 minute guide on setting up Boost Unit Tests with a CMake project. We’re […]

  • Why Creativity Matters

    In an interesting, and somewhat controversial post, Paul Currant provided a list of reasons why creativity does not belong in the workplace. I read that article, and my immediate reaction was visceral disagreement. Of course you need creativity! However, his focus was really more on the importance of execution, and not sacrificing that solely for […]

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    Semantic Interoperability: Avoiding the Middle Ages

    This post will focus on semantic interoperability when an open architecture contains or interacts with multiple ontologies and conceptual data models. Before proceeding, a few definitions are in order. Semantics is the branch of linguistics concerned with the meaning of different speech forms including their nature, structure, content, and context.  In open architecture the term […]