Astro Teller

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Astro Teller
Teller in 2021
Eric Teller

(1970-05-29) 29 May 1970 (age 53)
Cambridge, England
Alma mater
Known forBodyMedia, Google X
Danielle Teller
(m. 2012)
AwardsHertz Fellowship
Scientific career
ThesisAlgorithm evolution with internal reinforcement for signal understanding (1998)
Doctoral advisorManuela M. Veloso

Eric "Astro" Teller (born 29 May 1970) is an American entrepreneur, computer scientist, and author, with expertise in the field of intelligent technology.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Teller was born in Cambridge, England, and raised in Evanston, Illinois, US. He is the son of Paul Teller, who was an instructor in the philosophy of science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Chantal DeSoto, a buyer and clothing designer for Sears who later became a teacher of gifted children.[2] His grandparents include French economist and mathematician Gérard Debreu and Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist Edward Teller.[3] He received the nickname "Astro" after high school friends compared his flat-top haircut to AstroTurf, and he reportedly had the image of cartoon dog Astro from The Jetsons painted on his car door in college by his first wife, Elizabeth Jennings.[4]

Teller holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Stanford University, Master of Science in symbolic computation (symbolic and heuristic computation), also from Stanford, and a PhD in artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University,[1] where he received a Hertz fellowship.[a]


After working as a teacher at Stanford, Teller became a business executive.

Since 2010, he has directed Google X (which has become X) laboratories.[5][6][7][8] Projects at Google X include Google Glass, Google Self-Driving Car Project, Google Contact Lens and Project Loon. Google X spun its project called Flux out into a stand-alone business in 2012.[9] Teller gave a TED Talk at TED2016 on the importance of failure in Google X's approach to pioneering new projects.[10][11] On 18 October 2016, it was announced that Teller would temporarily be in charge of X's Project Wing while the search for its next permanent leader was underway.[12]


Teller was the co-founder and chairman of BodyMedia,[1] makers of the BodyMedia FIT, Bodybugg, and Sensewear armbands (wearable devices that measure sleep, perspiration, motion, and calories burned).[13]

He is also co-founder, director, and former CEO of Cerebellum Capital.[14][15]


In May 2001, Teller was featured on NPR's radio program All Things Considered, discussing how the good economy has shaped the attitudes of 30-year-olds towards their jobs.[16] He is the co-founder and co-host of the Solve for X annual event and internet community.[17]

He has lectured at the TEDMED Conference (2003 and 2004), South By Southwest (2013), and ideaCity (2004).[18][19][20] In 2008, he appeared as a political commentator on the national French television station France 24.[21][22][23]


Teller's novel, Exegesis, was published in 1997.[24] It was translated into Dutch,[25] Japanese,[26] Danish,[27] German,[28] Italian[29] and Greeklish.

A second novel, Among These Savage Thoughts, was published in 2006. An experimental novel, it deals with the protagonist's journey to reinvent himself in the imaginary mountain society of Karabas.[30]

His third book, Sacred Cows, is a non-fiction work examining society's attitudes about marriage and divorce, co-written with his wife Danielle Teller. It was published by Diversion Books in 2014; in the same year, he gave a TEDxBoston talk on the book.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

Teller is married to Danielle Teller.[31]


  1. ^ The Hertz Foundation provides financial and fellowship support to remarkable PhD students in the physical, biological and engineering sciences.


  1. ^ a b c "Most Creative People". Fast Company. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  2. ^ Pletz, John (18 May 2013). "The biography of Google's X-Man". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  3. ^ Murphy, Victoria (6 June 2005). "Mavericks: Future Teller". Forbes. Archived from the original on 9 April 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  4. ^ Stone, Brad (22 May 2013). "Inside Google's Secret Lab". Bloomberg Businessweek Technology. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  5. ^ Gertner, John, "The Truth About Google X: An Exclusive Look Behind The Secretive Lab's Closed Doors", Fast Company magazine, May 2014 issue.
  6. ^ "Astro Teller". Archived from the original on 11 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Bio: Astro Teller". Archived from the original on 7 July 2014.
  8. ^ Grossman, David (24 January 2014). "Secret Google lab 'rewards staff for failure'". News: Technology. BBC. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  9. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (May 2014). "Flux Emerges From Google X And Nabs $8M To Help Build Eco-Friendly Buildings". TechCrunch.
  10. ^ "Astro Teller: The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure". TED. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  11. ^ Wakefield, Jane (16 February 2016). "TED 2016: Google boss on why it is OK to fail". BBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Head of Google Drone Initiative Leaving Alphabet". 18 October 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  13. ^ Lemly, Brad. "TEDMED". Discover Magazine.
  14. ^ "The Mother of Invention" (PDF). Hertz Foundation.
  15. ^ "Directors & Advisors". Cerebellum Capital.
  16. ^ Teller, Astro. "Thirty Years Old". All Things Considered (Interview). NPR.
  17. ^ "Google's Solve For X: What's the big idea?". The Economist. 29 February 2012.
  18. ^ "Past Speakers". Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  19. ^ "SXSW – 2013 Keynote" – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "Past Speakers". idea City.
  21. ^ "Has Obama Already Won?".
  22. ^ "Will The Democratic Convention boost Obama?".
  23. ^ "US Elections: The Final Countdown".
  24. ^ "Exegesis by Astro Teller". Random House.
  25. ^ "Exegesis – Dutch Translation". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  26. ^ Exegesis – Japanese Translation. ASIN 416317480X.
  27. ^ "Exegesis – Danish Translation". Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  28. ^ "Exegesis – German Translation".
  29. ^ "Exegesis – Italian Translation".
  30. ^ "Books and Films". Astro Teller. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Sacred Cows by Danielle Teller and Astro Teller". Diversion Books. Archived from the original on 25 June 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  32. ^ "TEDx talk about Sacred Cows". TEDxBoston – via YouTube.

External links[edit]