Former Nest Head of Technology Yoky Matsuoka Joins Apple

Posted by at 10:30 am on May 5, 2016

Yoky Matsuoka

One of Apple’s latest major hires is one that will be working on the company’s health-related projects for iOS devices. Yoky Matsuoka, a robotics expert who helped co-found Google’s experimental X Lab and is a former head of technology for the Google-owned Nest, is joining Apple to help further the current wellness initiatives, namely HealthKitResearchKit, and CareKit, and potentially help produce other projects in the same field.

The former Googler departed from Nest last year, and was due to take a vice president role at Twitter, reports Fortune. Matsuoka was then unable to take up the role at the microblogging service after being diagnosed with a “life-threatening illness,” which she revealed in a Medium post that getting the illness “essentially erased” her life for a period of time.

Originally moving from Japan to the United States for a career in tennis, injuries forced Matsuoka to consider other options, with her experience in constructing a tennis-playing robot helping her get a Ph.D at MIT. After helping to develop a robotic arm called the BarrettHand, she moved on to spend ten years at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington in Seattle as a professor of robotics, at one point teaching Nest co-founder Matt Rogers.

Matsuoka’s robotics background and work in neurorobotics, as well as experience developing the UI and learning algorithms for Nest products are likely to help her in the new role at Apple, where she will be reporting directly to COO Jeff Williams.

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