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Robotics Industry Insights: Consumer Robotics

August 18 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

The Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRN) invites you to attend this special In-Person event.

Robotics Industry Insights: Consumer Robotics

Hosted By The Pittsburgh Robotics Network

Thursday, August 18th, 12PM


11:30am – Doors Open, Networking

12:00pm – Panel Discussion

1:00pm – Networking, Grab & Go Lunch

1:30pm – Conclusion

Pittsburgh is the Robotics Capital of the World and the birthplace of autonomous robotics. Our region’s robotics companies are trailblazing a new generation of autonomous products, solutions and services to solve real-world problems across all industries.

This in-person panel discussion will feature prominent robotics business leaders who are building autonomous solutions in the consumer robotics sector. These executive leaders will share their perspectives on industry challenges, commercialization strategies, customer success approaches, state of the industry, what ‘not’ to do, and lessons learned.

There will be time at the end of the panel discussion to network with the speakers and other attendees to meet each other, ask questions, learn more and strengthen our community connections. We hope you will join us as this will be a valuable and exciting event!


Jacob Hanchar, CEO, Digital Dream Labs

Richard Juchniewicz, Sr. Director of Engineering, 4moms

Henry Thorne, Founder, Thorne Baby Co.

Xunjie Zhang, CEO, Shift Robotics



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Jacob Hanchar

Jacob holds a Ph.D in neuropharmalogical sciences from UCLA and a MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. As a co-founder, investor and CEO, Jacob’s insights in product development and vision for strategic partnerships have helped to define the company’s many successes.

Digital Dream Labs

Digital Dream Labs (DDL) is an edtechtainment company that develops engaging learning solutions and robotic companions for people of all ages. Through our innovative suite of interactive and hands-on video games and autonomous robots, we are transforming the way technology is used in homes and classrooms around the world.

Rich Juchniewicz

Richard is an engineer with a passion for taking early-stage hardware prototypes from proof of concept to production, tackling the challenges of bringing them to scale from a few dozen to millions in the industrial and consumer markets. Over his long tenure as an engineer and now Senior Director of Engineering and Quality at 4moms, he has done just that with several new product introductions and new iterations of existing 4moms products. Prior to 4moms, he also spent several years developing and supporting the scaling of Redzone Robotics’ Solo® small diameter pipe. Richard is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a BS and MS in mechanical engineering. Outside of his work at 4moms, Richard currently spends most of his time coming up with new product ideas, over-engineering his homesteading projects, and going on adventures with his wife, dog, and two sons.


4moms® has transformed the baby gear industry by leveraging technology and user-centered design to create dramatically better products, like the 4moms MamaRoo® Multi-Motion Baby Swing that replicates the bouncing and swaying motions parents make when soothing their babies, the 4moms Breeze® Playard that opens or closes in one simple step, the 4moms MamaRoo Sleep® Bassinet, which uses unique motions to help baby fall asleep and stay asleep longer, and the 4moms® Connect High Chair™, which uses magnetic technology to make meal time easier. The company, founded in 2005 and based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, currently sells its products at buy buy BABY, Amazon, Best Buy, Target, walmart.com, select specialty retailers, 4moms.com and 58 countries across the world.

Henry Thorne, Founder Thorne Baby Co

An early student of the Robotics Institute, in 1984 Henry Thorne went to General Motors to apply his skills with industrial robots to car making. He cracked the last few tough problems with Robotic Arc Welding and created the largest welding line of its era creating 6 miles of linear weld per day for General Motors “World Car” program. Setting out on his own in 1990 he started “Cycle Time Corp” to reduce cycle times on automotive assembly lines. There, he invented automated Tool Center Point calibration and the first Graphic User Interface for Industrial Robots. In 1992 he came back to Pittsburgh to form Probotics Inc. and commercialize the first personal robot, Cye. Converting this into the Tug to increase its commercial potential in 2001 he renamed the company “Aethon” and got it working with a 98% run rate reliability in two Pittsburgh hospitals. To reach a wider audience for his inventions he formed 4moms in 2006 with Rob Daley. Their most popular product, the mamaRoo, has sold over a million units.

Xunjie Zhang

Xunjie started his career as a jet propulsion engineer at Rolls Royce, where he worked on some of the most powerful jet engines that powers Boeing 787 and A350. Inspired by Carnegie Mellon’s CHIMP in the DARPA Grand Challenge, he not only followed his robotic passion at his dream school but also teamed up with a group of racing car engineers, roboticists, and sneaker designers to create the world’s fastest shoes that enable pedestrians to walk at a running speed without extra effort.

Shift Robotics

Shift is creating the world’s first pair of robotic skates that make skating as easy as walking while enabling walking at a running speed. They use state-of-the-art bipedal control in conjunction with machine learning to adapt to your walking pattern, thereby making them a natural extension of the person’s legs.



Ample street parking is available on nearby streets in marked spaces (avoid any restricted, unmarked or alley parking as you will be towed.)


Complimentary grab and go lunch will be provided with your ticket.

Contact Information

Questions about this Event: Lexi Miller, Events Manager, lexi@robopgh.org

Questions about Sponsorship: Jennifer Apicella, Program Director, jenn@robopgh.org



Slate Studio
2517 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 US
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