Leila Madrone: Solar Energy Roboticist

Otherlab’s Leila Madrone is trying to make solar power finally work

4 min read
Leila Madrone: Solar Energy Roboticist
Leila Madrone IEEE member Age 37 What she does Investigates ways to produce solar energy cheaply. For whom Otherlab Where she does it San Francisco Fun factors Her office appears in the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo: Gabriela Hasbun

Leila Madrone's earliest aspiration was to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “When I was seven, I wore a black NASA jacket every single day," says Madrone. A quarter century later, after earning two degrees and designing robots of all shapes and sizes at MIT, she attained that goal, landing a job at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

Her work there—on the GigaPan imaging project, a spin-off of the Mars rover missions—was enjoyable, but deep down she didn't find it satisfying. Madrone wanted her toils to have greater social impact. So after careful thought, she decided to apply her background in robotics to solving some of the problems of renewable energy. Her new ambition is “to make solar energy actually work." She's now pursuing that objective at Otherlab in San Francisco, where she's doing R&D that could one day make solar energy competitive with coal, even in the developing world.

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Video Friday: Drone in a Cage

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A drone inside of a protective geometric cage flies through a dark rain

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23 May–27 May 2022, PHILADELPHIA
IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Remembering 1982 IEEE President Robert Larson

He was a supporter of several IEEE programs including Smart Village

3 min read
A photo of two men in suits.  One behind the other.

Robert Larson [left] with IEEE Life Fellow Eric Herz, who served as IEEE general manager and executive director.

IEEE History Center

Robert E. Larson, 1982 IEEE president, died on 10 March at the age of 83.

An active volunteer who held many high-level positions throughout the organization, Larson was the 1975–1976 president of the IEEE Control Systems Society and also served as IEEE Foundation president.

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Know someone that is hard to shop for? We have the perfect gift for you.

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