Vietnamese PhD from Silicon Valley Is Creating a Revolution in Robotics
Robots in every house, assisting people with their daily activities like walking, watching movies, and cooking … at an affordable price.
Among the 100 young Vietnamese experts participating in the Vietnam Innovation Network launching event, Dr. Thuc Vu, CEO of Kambria and OhmniLabs, a company that manufactures telepresence robots in the Silicon Valley (USA), has attracted much attention. Being one of the pioneers in the field of consumer robotics with a commercialized product — the “Ohmni Robot”, he was the only Vietnamese to be honored in the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2017, a list that highlights the region’s best and brightest under the age of 40. (link)
As an expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Game Theory, Thuc has developed a passion for robots. He wants to transform these dull equipments and lifeless data into helpful tools for everyone.
His desire became a reality only a year after the founding of OhmniLabs in 2015 with the release of Ohmni Robot v1. This robot can move around the house with a tablet mounted onto its top. Via the Ohmni Robot, video calls can be made between people who are far apart, and these conversations can be either recorded or live-broadcasted. The robot can also become a friend for family in their daily activities like watching a movie or going out for a walk.
Thanks to Ohmni robot, an elder mother has been saved when her son called and found her paralyzed on her bed due to a severe bacterial infection. He called the ambulance who provided her with immediate medical assistance before it was too late.
The later versions of this household robots are currently being developed and manufactured by Dr. Thuc and his research team. Ohmni robots have been adopted in nursing homes for adult healthcare, in educational institutions for remote learning as well as in hospitals for medical care.
Dr. Thuc wants to take a leap in the robotic industry by creating an open sourced platform that eliminates the barrier-to-entry for robotic companies by reducing their initial investment costs and R&D time. He and his team has developed Kambria — an open innovation platform built on the blockchain technology. Participating in this ecosystem, every engineer or developer can start their robotic projects as well as contribute to existing projects at a very low cost as they do not have to start from scratch.
Given his strong background in tech startup, Dr. Thuc understands that for every new invention, the inventor has to set up their own business, getting a loan and struggling to find a way to send their product to the market. This is a long process subjected to many risks of failure. “For these complex technologies, it would be hard for everyone to bootstrapping alone”. — said by Dr. Thuc. The Kambria platform will address these issue by supporting the commercialization of developers’ breakthrough tech products.
“Kambria will invite investors into the platform to support and share the ownership with the developers. They can initiate their investments into potential tech projects that promise a high return on the Kambria platform.” — said by Dr. Thuc. He also hinted that this open platform is currently collaborating with other global tech giants to develop self-driving cars and autonomous aircrafts as well as medical bots. Demo for the platform is currently available and the final version is expected to be released in mid-2019.
Contributing through concrete and specific actions
Apart from being a scientist, Dr. Thuc is well-known for his entrepreneurship, having co-founded Katango and Tappy. Both startups have made successful exits through the acquisition by world’s leading tech companies — Google and Weeby.co.
His belief is that success and happiness come from creating value for others. Drawing from that, he is currently investing in quite a few tech startups, while collaborating with top universities in Vietnam to build up research labs focusing on innovations and applications in the field of robotics.
He also connects these research centers with top-tier tech giants and universities around the world to nurture a knowledge-exchange environment for the robotic industry in Vietnam.
Dr. Thuc also brought back accredited curriculum in Artificial Intelligence (AI) from the Silicon Valley’s Stanford University and Google to Vietnam to build up a new generation of talented and well-educated Vietnamese developers. At the same time, he facilitates many networking activities to connect the AI community in both Vietnam and Silicon Valley.
Furthermore, VietSeeds Foundation scholarship, also founded by Dr. Thuc has been operating for more than 7 years, with more than 200 students, each received scholarships of $4,000 to support their college education.
Dr. Thuc is accelerating the development of curriculum, training programs and research labs to connect students and researchers in Vietnam with the global market in multiple verticals in Kambria, from AI/Robotics to Blockchain, and self-driving vehicles, etc.
With Kambria, Dr. Thuc Vu is pushing forwards the development of AI and Robotics into the consumer space, with hope that more and more applications of these frontier technologies appear in all aspects of life, such as manufacturing, industry, medical, and educational activities.
Born in 1982 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vu Duy Thuc received his primary education at High School for the Talented (National University of HCMC). Thuc earned a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University. In 2010, he was the youngest Vietnamese ever to receive a doctorate from Stanford University.
Dr. Thuc has won the “Best Student” award from the Computing Research Association (CRA). He has consulted and invested in more than 10 technology companies in the US and Vietnam. OhmniLabs, founded by Dr. Thuc, has surpassed 1,000 startups to win the first G-Startup Worldwide competition in Silicon Valley.
Dr. Vu Duy Thuc has been honored by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, a prestigious business magazine in the United States, as one of the 40 most influential people under 40 in the Silicon Valley region in 2017.
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