Developer’s Blog

Meet the team: Matt Stevenson, Chief Information Officer

Matt Stevenson is Chief Information Officer of RoboKind. He attended, like several developers at RoboKind, the University of Texas at Dallas. Before joining the team, Matt studied Artificial Intelligence and machine learning before transitioning into financial programming and software development. Eventually, Matt joined Richard at Hanson Robotics and got his first taste of social robotics. “It seemed like a good idea to take what we were already working on, mass produce them and get them out to where people could use them.” Creating a robot for Autism During Robokind’s infancy, Richard and Matt worked with different autism centers to test and develop a robot for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) therapy. Even with their earlier prototypes, Matt and Richard saw successful instances of ASD learners breaking out of their shells and engaging with the robots. Matt worked to develop software…

Meet the team: Dan Lance, Content Developer

Dan Lance is part of the content development team at RoboKind. He graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he studied game and level design. He worked a few different retail jobs while looking for a full-time job until he came across a job listing for RoboKind’s content developer position. He has since helped to develop RoboKind’s training documents, train new employees, and worked closely with experts to develop and test Milo’s curriculum. During his time at UTD, Dan created a simulation for people to experience what it’s like to have autism. It was a personal project for Dan, who also has autism and wanted to share his experience with others. His drive to help other autistic individuals has aided RoboKind in developing comprehensive lessons for autistic children. “I did a project that was basically simulating what it’s like to experience autism in a way that…

Meet the team: Souphia Leng, Creative Director

Souphia Ieng is the Creative Director for RoboKind. She handles all things related to art from logo design, to 3D animations. She majored in Art and Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas, where she learned motion capture and how to rig a 3D model, which is building a skeletal structure to move a character for 3D animation. She began working part-time at RoboKind during the prototyping phase, and then transitioned to full-time when RoboKind released Milo. Before joining RoboKind, Souphia worked on a research project funded by the U.S. military where she helped design a simulation program that trained soldiers in cultural sensitivity. The 3D space and characters designed for the simulation have complex facial movements that help a soldier recognize universal cues. Souphia’s expertise is seen within Milo’s lifelike expressions and movements. “When designing the chest…

Meet the team: Josh Jach, Director of Engineering

Josh Jach is the Director of Engineering at RoboKind. Josh has been interested in engineering since a young age. His first foray into robotics came from Legos Mindstorms, where he learned the basics of engineering and programming. After graduating from UT Arlington with a degree in mechanical engineering, where he attended at the same time as the co-founder Richard Margolin, Josh interned for General Motors, and worked shortly at Nuclear Logistics. However, the work he did at General Motors and Nuclear Logistics did not fulfill his passion for engineering. When RoboKind approached him to help develop the first prototypes of Milo, Josh signed up as their electrical engineer. Over the course of the project, he began to working on the hardware for Milo and has since become part of the senior management team at RoboKind. “The work that they’re doing is really interesting. A lot of it…

Meet the Team: Justin Holder, Director of Content

Justin Holder is the Director of Content at RoboKind. He, like several others on the team, graduated from University of Texas at Dallas. He worked a number of retail jobs and had a short contract with Gearbox Software, before being brought on to the team. His first work with RoboKind was repairing the robots, but wasn’t what he wanted to do. He kept an eye out for ways that he could help the team and company grow. As Milo started to look more viable as an option that could help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Justin took on the task of managing the curriculum that Milo delivers. “It was something that needed to be done, and everybody else had their hands full.” Designing behavioral lesson plans for children with ASD Before RoboKind, Justin did not have any experience with developing lesson plans for children. His first challenge was to understand the needs of the children…

Meet the Team: Fred Margolin, Co-Founder

Fred Margolin is a serial entrepreneur who has created several companies in the insurance and finance field. With his experience, he helped develop RoboKind’s business plan, and financed the company’s first venture. He also contributed to bringing the cost of building Milo down from $20,000 to close to $5,000. Now, he helps RoboKind develop marketing strategies and provides the right information to the public about the benefits their products offers. Instead of pushing the technological advances that Milo and RoboKind bring, they focus on the benefits Milo offers and the impact he has on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “I saw these robots had phenomenal potential to be a product worthy for schools as a platform to create a connection with human beings, if they were used right.” Why did he start RoboKind? Fred saw several robotic products on the consumer market that he…

Meet the Team: Richard Margolin, Co-founder

Richard Margolin is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of RoboKind. He attended Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut, and the University of Texas at Arlington. He is no stranger to startups, having started many different companies before RoboKind. “Everything I’ve ever been interested in as a hobby or a little artistic venture became a company.” Richard was involved with several different projects over the years. Just to name a few, he helped develop purification methods for carbon nanotubes, worked in genetics on the Human Genome Project at the UT Southwestern Bioinformatics Lab, and has worked as the Engineering Director at Hanson Robotics. Why did he start RoboKind? “I saw a lot of research at the university level that showed that robots could be really good in autism and education generally.” During his tour with Hanson Robotics, Richard came across studies that…

Welcome to the R4A Developers’ Blog

Robots4Autism would not be possible without the continuous work of the developers and our private and public partners to ensure that we are able to best assist those with ASD.  This blog is where visitors can find information on new tech updates and features made to the website, the curriculum, and Milo along with information about apps and firmware upgrades that enhance and improve the overall experience.  This is a place to learn about future developments and the goals that those of us behind Robots4Autism have to help those with ASD better experience, understand, and communicate with the world around them.