Dr. Thuc Vu is an entrepreneur and co-founder of OhmniLabs and Kambria, a decentralized open innovation platform focused on accelerating the development and adoption of the world’s most advanced robotic technologies. Our conversation covered a range of topics, including the differences between industrial and consumer robotics, key advances in AI, the role of game theory in designing collaborative systems, and the promising opportunities for robotics in health care, education and senior care. We also explore the broader market dynamics in the robotics markets and the burgeoning tech scene in Vietnam.
Good day everyone, this is Ed Maguire, Insights Partner at Momenta Partners, with another episode of our Edge podcast, and today we have with us Dr. Thuc Vu who is the co-founder OhmniLab and Kambria. It’s interesting that we were able to arrange this podcast; a good friend of mine Mai Luong who I know from the New York blockchain community, started working with Kambria, and said, ‘You’ve got to talk to these guys, they’re doing some amazing stuff’. As it turns out another friend of mine has also been working with you guys. We haven’t met in person, but I’m very excited to talk to you and hear the story. Thanks for joining us for the podcast Thuc.
Hi Ed, very nice to be here, and thank you for inviting us.
Great. First, I’d like to start off just by understanding a bit of your background. Could you talk about your background, the work you’ve done that has got you into technology, and what has brought you to become an entrepreneur?
I grew up in Vietnam, and I came to the US for school, I have been in the US for about 20-years already. I did my undergrad at Carnegie Mellon, PhD at Stanford both in Computer Science, focusing on AI. After Stanford I started a company with a couple of other people, we were focusing on the social analytics, basically trying to understand relationships of user on social networks such as Facebook. We started the company in 2010 and then we got acquired by Google at the end of 2011, and I stayed at Google for 3-years working on Google+ and then Android. After Google I started a company called OhmniLab with Jared and Tingxi. Jared was my roommate back then in Carnegie Mellon, and so we worked very well together, we did a bunch of research projects in robotics.
Our view at the time when we started OhmniLab was that we wanted to do a product of robots for the consumer space, because we hadn’t seen that much traction there. The only robot if you will, that sold millions of copies is the Roomba, the vacuum cleaner, but beside that we only have maybe toys or some entertainment robots. So we asked ourselves why? We have a lot of amazing technology already developed in the field for industrial manufacturing space, but for consumers we don’t see anything. Our hypothesis was that maybe because the cost was too high, the value that these robotic products offered to our end-user is too low for the cost they must pay. So, as long as the value cost is not clear, and its not high enough, people are not going to buy these products.
Full podcast: https://www.momenta.partners/edge/robotics-blockchain-ai-and-game-theory-a-conversation-with-thuc-vu