We’re an eclectic team with unconventional backgrounds in quantum computing, metamaterials / photonics, aerospace and machine learning, and robotics. With just a handful of smart engineers, we managed to build one of the world’s most advanced fullstack robotics platform (both hardware and software) in record time and in a capital-efficient way, stunning many disbelievers. At the core, we are product-oriented engineers, not academics – we are execution-focused and obsessed with building products that work out of the box.
Dr. Bernard Casse
CEO & Founder
Dr. Bernard Casse is a seasoned leader, entrepreneur, and strategist with a demonstrated track record of developing innovative technologies, leading world-class teams, over delivering on complex multidisciplinary projects, and building business pipelines. Prior to RIOS, he co-founded Metawave (A Xerox PARC spin-out), and led all aspects of the company’s technological strategy, roadmap, and vision, as its CTO. Before that, he was an Area Manager at Xerox PARC, where he created and led the Metamaterial Devices & Applications business area, and managed multi-year, multi-million-dollar contracts from the Government and private sector. Before PARC, he was a program manager at Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) leading Defense programs. Prior to PARC, Dr. Casse was a postdoc at Northeastern University, and worked on nanophotonics at Harvard’s CNS and Brookhaven National Lab’s CFN. Dr. Casse holds a PhD in Physics from the National University of Singapore.
Dr. Clinton Smith
CTO & Co-Founder
Dr. Clinton Smith has spent his career working with and leading interdisciplinary teams to develop cutting edge technology for industries such as defense, industry, and medicine. Prior to his role at RIOS, Dr. Smith was a Senior Member of the Research Staff at Xerox PARC. At PARC, Dr. Smith’s research focused on developing technology for the Internet of Things (IoT). He successfully executed on or achieved funding for ∼$15 million in projects with funding from sources including Xerox Corp., the United States Dept. of Energy, and DARPA. Example projects include the development of a printed CO2 sensor to improve demand control ventilation, a distributed network of IoT devices for ship monitoring, and a wireless mesh network of printed carbon nanotube methane sensors for natural gas leak quantification. Dr. Smith obtained his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and his B.S. in Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Christopher Lalau-Keraly
Director of Engineering
Dr. Christopher Lalau-Keraly is a powerhouse when it comes to solving intractable and exciting technological problems, both in the hardware and software domains. With a background in applied physics and electrical engineering, Dr. Lalau-Keraly uses his multi-disciplinary expertise and deep analytical skills to realize breakthrough innovations in both hardware and machine learning. Prior to RIOS, he was an R&D Manager at PsiQuantum Corporation working on hard quantum computing problems. While at PSIQuantum, he designed novel silicon photonic devices and developed new electromagnetic solvers as well as a new computing infrastructure. Previously, Dr. Lalau-Keraly worked at Xerox PARC where he developed RF energy-harvesting sensors for IoT applications, and Doppler radar for occupancy sensing. Some of his open source work on electromagnetic device shape optimization being universally used today in the photonics community. Dr. Lalau-Keraly has a Master’s in Applied Physics from the French École Polytechnique and a PhD in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley.
Dr. Chris Paulson
Director of Systems Engineering
Dr. Chris Paulson is very gifted when it comes to making things and can pretty much build anything – he’s the extreme maker. He brings over 10 years of deeptech and engineering experience. Prior to joining RIOS, Dr. Paulson was a Senior Member of the Research staff at Xerox PARC, where he conceptualized, constructed and staffed a 6500 sqft manufacturing facility for a multi-million DARPA program. At PARC, he was the PI and technical lead on $30M+ in Government-funded and commercial projects. These projects ranged from health-care specific IoT devices, to advanced material science development tasks, to IoT devices to monitor the world’s oceans. Dr. Paulson created a lot of innovations and made several breakthroughs during his tenure at PARC. He also has a makerspace right in his own garage, which is equipped with a CNC machine and various tools for builders. Dr. Paulson holds a BS in Astrophysics from the University of California in Santa Cruz, and a PhD in Computational Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southampton.
Director of Artificial Intelligence
Matt Shaffer is the architect behind the brain of DX-1. He is a serial entrepreneur who enjoys creating scalable new technology that serves underrepresented markets and helps people be more productive through automation. He has leveraged his background as a machine learning engineer to build AI-driven products from virtual assistants to deployable robots. Past projects included data-driven forensics on video altered by artificial intelligence, evolution strategies for bio-mechanical control and generative networks. Areas of interest include causal models, reinforcement learning and meta-learning for deployed hardware operating in the wild. He received his Master’s degree at UC Berkeley (Information and Data Science), with a focus on deep learning applied to applications in computer vision, time series prediction and control tasks.
VP of Business Development
Mandy Dwight is an accomplished sales leader who specializes in bringing new, cutting edge technologies to industries that have been often underserved by advances in automation.Most recently, Mandy led efforts to bring robotic order fulfillment and reverse logistics solutions to market at Soft Robotics, Inc. as Business Director of Supply Chain Solutions. At Rethink Robotics, Mandy introduced a new genre of robot, the collaborative robot, to R&D labs around the globe. It was in this role that she worked for the first time with clients who were solving very hard problems that would forever change work on the manufacturing floor. Mandy spent the beginning of her career in education, a contributing factor to later success in sales at Softbank Robotics where she introduced the NAO Humanoid Robot to college and STEM labs. Mandy has earned a BA degree from Providence College, and MS degrees from Mercy College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Principal Robotics Software Engineer
Laura Stelzner is a ROS (Robot Operating System) wizard and computer programming expert. She brings over 10 years of deep software engineering experience with a focus on robotics. Prior to RIOS, Laura worked at Toyota Research Institute, developing ROS software for Human Support Robots (HSR). At TRI, she developed and integrated various ROS functionalities including navigation, SLAM, and arm motion planning. Laura first became interested in robotics when taking a mechatronics class. Since then, she has been involved programming and tinkering with different mobile and/or manipulator robots. Previously, Laura worked at Space Systems Loral designing test frameworks to automate bringing up of flight hardware for satellites, and at Raytheon working on challenging projects like developing embedded code for DSPs. Laura has a Master's degree in Computer Science from Stanford and a BS in Computer Engineering from UC Santa Cruz.
Principal Robotics Software Engineer
Leo Keselman has an unprecedented ability to command robots. With 7 years in industrial robotics at Fanuc, Leo applies his knowledge of the industry and experience deploying robotics to factories in order to develop reliable, robust, and scalable systems for RIOS customers. Leo has a track record of developing products that are both innovative and practical and brings a passion for automation to his work. Leo’s robotic systems are currently running at several General Motors factories with millions of parts produced. Leo is currently focusing on maximizing robot performance while maintaining reliability and building a flexible and practical robot subsystem. Leo earned his BS and MS from Georgia Tech in Electrical Engineering with a focus on robotics and motion planning.
Dr. Michael Benedict
Principal Product Manager
Dr. Michael Benedict brings a background in both cutting edge research and a grounding in modern production. Prior to joining RIOS, Dr. Benedict was leading one of the largest research teams at the Palo Alto Research Company on a government funded project to reduce national energy consumption utilizing an electrochemical dehumidification technology which he invented. He also spent time at PARC researching problems from drug delivery to electrohydrodynamics. Dr. Benedict worked on high volume production with GE where he held roles from lead engineer to manager of external research. While at GE he earned his Black Belt in lean six sigma, started and finished his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, and implemented several projects on the factory floor. Dr. Benedict earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida and his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Florida.
Product Development Engineer
Anthony Canlungo is the Swiss army knife of RIOS. He brings 4 years of experience developing leading-edge sensing platforms. Prior to RIOS, Anthony ran his own startup to develop a low-cost molecular diagnostic platform managing kidney disease. He brings a mix of entrepreneurship experience, hardware expertise, and applied computer vision. Anthony’s tools of the trade are Python, SolidWorks, OpenCV and TensorFlow. At RIOS, he has been responsible for developing the machine learning pipeline and made extensive contributions to engineering the haptic sensing platform. Anthony’s current focus is in contributing to build out a large-scale data processing platform for robots. Anthony is a math whiz at the core – he studied at Cornell University and transferred to the University of Florida, where he earned a BS in Math, with a concentration in Physics.
Brian Kendzior is a Software Engineer who brings 10 years of experience as a core member of several software startups. Solving complex problems with software has been his passion from a young age; his DevOps journey started with a Gentoo install on a discarded laptop when he was in his early teens. Prior to joining RIOS, Brian was a founding team member of a CI/CD startup later acquired by General Electric. He brings his knowledge building cutting-edge DevOps software to RIOS where he's excited to bring techniques honed in the cloud software world to the robotics software ecosystem. Brian earned his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin: Eau Claire. In his days off you can be sure to find him exploring the backcountry while skiing, rock climbing, or mountain biking.
Senior Product Engineer
Nick Choi is a versatile Mechanical Engineer with a passion for automation and product design. He brings over 3 years’ worth of experience from a wide range of industries such as R&D, semiconductor, automation, and aerospace. With a background in mechanical engineering, he brings experience in machine design and product manufacturing. Prior to working at RIOS, Nick was a Mechanical Engineer at OLT Solar where he worked on the design of automated solar cell manufacturing equipment. Previously, Nick worked at Xerox PARC where he was a Member of Technical Staff working on various projects involving meta materials and printing systems. At PARC, Nick was central to the development and manufacturing of several prototype systems. Nick earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and is graduating with an MS in Mechanical Engineering in 2021 from San Jose State University with a focus in design.
Business Development Manager
Todd Curley is an experienced sales performer bringing 30 years of experience selling both bleeding-edge technologies like IoT and more traditional consumer electronics. Throughout his career, Todd established distribution channels of well-known brands like Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, Pioneer, etc. At his peak, Todd produced number 1 territory sales volume for Sprint Mobile Phones. He has built a solid reputation by building strong, long term relationships with clients from companies of all sizes. In addition, Todd has also provided technical trainings for customer staff on new product technologies as well as strengthen industry knowledge by attending trade shows, lunch-N-learns and product trainings. In his spare time, Todd competes in USTA sponsored league tennis matches and enjoy hobbies such as gardening, photography, videography and playing the drums.
Business Operations Manager
This organization would not function without Judie Kemp. She takes ownership of multiple administrative areas including finance, human resources, facilities and safety. She oversees the daily company operations to ensure our goals are achieved and the staff operate efficiently. She has helped to implement and maintain the financial and business systems, while also creating company policies that inform employees about our culture at RIOS. Judie has worked with start-ups over the last 5 years including Metawave Corporation and Thinfilm Electronics, performing duties that helped to enhance the skills she has today. Prior to her start-up exposure, Judie worked at PARC for 10 years where she was an operations administrator, accountant, buyer and handled various business functions including; preparing and recording government filings, developing strong core processes for facilitating logistics, and serving as an ERT member.
Managing Partner, Valley Capital Partners
Steve O’Hara is a General Partner at Valley Capital Partners, where he primarily focuses on early stage technology investments in enterprise infrastructure, security technologies and deep tech such as AI and robotics. He has been deeply involved in the Silicon Valley start-up and investment landscape since 1988, first as an engineer, then as an entrepreneur, an angel investor, and most recently as a venture capital investor. Steve was the principal founder of three VC-backed companies (two backed by Kleiner Perkins, one by Intel Capital) and was an angel investor in twelve early stage tech companies, all of which made successful exits through IPO (6) and M&A (6). Previously, Steve held engineering and management roles at Nortel and Xerox PARC. He is the co-author of 2 US patents in data networking using image processing waveforms for adaptive error correction. Steve graduated from Santa Clara University with a BS degree in Math.
Jennifer Gill Roberts
Managing Partner, Grit Ventures
Jennifer Gill Roberts is a startup investor, entrepreneur and technologist. She has over 20 years of early-stage hardware venture experiences in Silicon Valley and is known for her work founding Watermark, the leading organization for women entrepreneurs. Before her career in venture, Jennifer led product and technical efforts at Apple, HP and Sun Microsystems. Jennifer is an active Stanford alum (GSB and SOE) and a mentor at Stanford's StartX incubator, the Stanford Venture Studio and ICME at the School of Engineering. Jennifer also serves on the JCEI West Coast Advisor Board for Indiana University and is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum. She holds a BSEE from Stanford, an MSEE from UT and an MBA from Stanford.
Partner, Morpheus Ventures
Howard is primarily focused on sourcing new investments and working with Morpheus portfolio companies. He currently serves on the Board of Tagnos and DarkLight. Howard was previously with Mission Ventures, a leading Southern California venture capital firm focused on software and semiconductor investments. Prior to Mission, he was with Salomon Smith Barney in their Technology Investment Banking Group where he was involved with public and private financings and M&A.
Howard has also served as co-chair of the San Diego Telecom Council Wireless Infrastructure Group. He was a member of the Board of Reviewers for the San Diego based Center for Commercialization of Advanced Technology, an organization funded by the Department of Defense. Howard holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from UCLA and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.