Apple hires robotic expert Yoky Matsuoka

Yoky Matsuoka will work with Apple COO Jeff Williams on a range of health initiatives

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Apple hires robotic expert Yoky Matsuoka The MacArthur Foundation website described Yoky Matsuoka as a leader in the field of neurorobotics (Getty Images)
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  May 4, 2016

Apple has hired robotics expert, co-founder of Google's X lab and head of technology Nest, Yoky Matsuoka, to work on Apple's upcoming health projects.

Apple revealed Matsuoka is working for chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who oversees Apple Watch and other health initiatives including HealthKit a framework for developing apps, ReserachKit where mobile devices are used in medical studies and CareKit which helps individuals improve their medical care.

Matsuoka became interested in robotics when she injured herself playing tennis, this led to her building a tennis-playing robot and later got a Ph.D and helped develop the BarrettHand, a robotic arm. The MacArthur Foundation website described Matsuoka as a leader in the field of neurorobotics, a field that combines robotics with how the human nervous system coordinates muscle and skeletal movements.

After spending time in academia as a professor of robotics, she went on to co-found the smart home gadget maker, Nest where she developed learning algorithms for automating Nest products. The company was later acquired by Google in early 2014 for $3.2bn.

Last year, Matsuoka she left Nest for Twitter, but had to leave due to being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

At the time she wrote in a blog post: "I have not decided what to do next," she wrote in the post. "I am spending time with my family and working on some personal projects. But I can't imagine leaving the world of technology and what has been a passion for me. I want to work again, but also want to take time to construct this new life I have been so blessed to be given."

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