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Dr. Mirko Kovac

Dr. Mirko Kovac is director of the Aerial Robotics Laboratory at the Aeronautics Department at Imperial College London. His research interest is the conception and design of novel morphologies and locomotion methods for mobile robots and their analogy in biological systems.

Before his appointment in London, he was post- doctoral researcher at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory as part of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University in Cambridge, USA. He obtained his PhD with the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). He received his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) in 2005. During his studies he was research associate with the University of California in Berkeley USA, RIETER Automotive Switzerland, the WARTSILA Diesel Technology Division in Switzerland, and CISERV in Singapore.

Since 2006, he has presented his work at numerous international conferences and in journals and has won several best paper and best presentation awards. Also, he is invited member of the scientific advisory board of the Lifeboat Foundation, has been invited lecturer at more than 20 research institutions world wide and has been representative speaker on education and innovation at the World Knowledge Dialogue Symposium 2008 and the EPFL Didactic Days Conference 2008.
Dr. Rich Mahoney

Rich Mahoney, Ph.D., is the CEO and Founder of Superflex Inc, a spin-off venture from SRI International (Stanford Research Institute). Superflex will develop cutting-edge wearable robotics to enhance the human musculoskeletal system for a wide range of applications. Rich was the Executive Director of the robotics program at SRI International for more than seven years. He has more than 25 years of experience in research, development, and commercialization of robotics technology, with an emphasis on healthcare solutions for assistive devices and physical therapy. At SRI, Mahoney led a team delivering cutting-edge robotics innovations to DARPA, other government, and commercial customers, including advanced component technologies and telemanipulation, for healthcare, security, and consumer applications. In addition to Superflex, Rich also led the commercialization of multiple ventures from SRI Robotics, including Redwood Robotics, Grabit, Verb Surgical, Abundant Robotics, and others not yet announced.

Prior to joining SRI, Rich was General Manager of the U.S. operations of Motorika, Inc., an early-stage medical device company specializing in technology for neuro-rehabilitation. Previously, he was the director of business development for Applied Resources Corp., and co-director of the Robotics Laboratory of the Applied Science and Engineering Labs at the University of Delaware and A.I. DuPont Institute.

He received his B.S. and M.S. from Drexel University in Pennsylvania. He earned a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Cambridge, England, while attending on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Rich Mahoney was also the founding President of the association Silicon Valley Robotics (SVR) which supports the innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies.
Dr. Bianca Braun
Dr. Bianca Braun holds a Masters and a PhD from the University of St Gallen (HSG) with a specialization in technology management and internal audit. She wrote her PhD thesis by Prof Fredmund Malik on successful private companies and later worked in consulting at the Malik Management Center in St Gallen.

Bianca joined her family business Maxon Motor AG as part of the Board of Directors and as Head of Internal Audit. Maxon Motor was founded in 1961 in Switzerland and is one of the world’s leaders in drive technology. The family owned company employs more than 2,200 employees and generated revenues of over USD 400m in 2015. The company is well known for the high quality of its electric motors that are used around the world and beyond with NASA’s Mars rover.

Bianca Braun brings with her the expertise of being a leading member of a manufacturer of key components in robotics and automation. She has been shortlisted by the magazine Women In Business as part of the top 40 under 40. She loves traveling and is a keen sportswoman who participated to a large number of marathons and was a top-ranked skier in Switzerland.