Nick's Open Road

NICK DEPALMA

Graduate Student
MIT Personal Robots Group

“If you're still thinking about [something] in the shower…that's when you love it.”

INTERESTS:

Science Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Beliefs & Faith Experience Hobbies & Pastimes Passion Education Individualism

TAGS:

artificial intelligence, building, clocks, communication, computer science, computers, faith, gaming, hope, interaction, losing yourself, MIT, open mind, personal interactions, professional, robots, suppression, video games

BIOGRAPHY:

Breaking things might seem destructive—but for Nick DePalma, breaking an object apart has always been his way of understanding it holistically. This method of learning didn’t always go over well with Nick’s parents, of course—especially when it involved taking apart expensive clocks and other objects around the house. But Nick couldn’t help it: it’s the way his brain works. Now a researcher at the MIT Robotics Lab, he luckily gets to apply this “break-apart-and-reassemble” approach every day at work to build robots. His work on talking robots like “Nexi” have revolutionized human and robot interaction, elevating robots from mere sci-fi fiction characters to real contributors in society. Nick’s MDS (Mobile, Dexterous, Social) robots can act as teaching aids, help patients undergoing physical rehabilitation, serve as companions to the elderly, and can even cuss! Ultimately, Nick has found a niche that allows him to exercise his strengths and passions in tandem, and he encourages others to find the same. (He also proudly credits video games for giving him the skills needed for his job, so gamers, here’s your justification!)

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