Carol E. Reiley

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Carol Reiley
Born1982 (1982)
Flint, Michigan
ResidenceBay Area, United States
Alma materSanta Clara University,
Johns Hopkins University
Spouse(s)Andrew Ng
Scientific career
FieldsRobotics, artificial intelligence

Carol E. Reiley is an entrepreneur, computer scientist, and roboticist. She is a pioneer in teleoperated and autonomous robot systems in applications such as surgery, space exploration, disaster rescue and self driving cars. She previously worked at Intuitive Surgical, Lockheed Martin, and General Electric. She co-founded, invested, and was President of raising over $77 million.[1] She is the first female engineer on the cover of MAKE magazine and is recognized by Forbes, Inc, and Quartz as one of the top founders in Artificial Intelligence. She is a published children's book author. She is currently CEO of a healthcare startup, a creative advisor of the San Francisco Symphony, and a brand ambassador for Guerlain Cosmetics.


Carol Elizabeth Reiley was born in Flint, Michigan in 1982 and moved to Vancouver, Washington at a young age.[2][3] Her father is an engineer and her mother a flight attendant; Reiley credits both for her interest in technology and global humanitarian work. She has one younger brother, who is also an engineer.[4][5] Reiley is Asian American (Chinese) and grew up in a Mandarin-speaking household.

Reiley received her B.S. in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University in 2004 with a concentration in robotics research, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University in 2007, specializing in haptics. She then enrolled in a Ph.D. program (ABD) specializing in computer vision / artificial intelligence.[6] She spent a year at Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Lab with her Ph.D. advisor, who was on sabbatical there.

She married Andrew Ng in 2014.[7] Their engagement announcement was featured in IEEE Spectrum.[8]


Reiley started her first business at age 10, inspired by the Babysitters Club book series. Her first professional job was at age 15 as a television personality on Homework Helpline, a local cable show geared towards K-12 graders, answering math and English questions on the air.[3]

She has built products for surgical robotic systems at Intuitive Surgical, space robotic systems at Lockheed Martin, and self-driving cars at[3] In 2011, Reiley founded and ran Tinkerbelle Labs, an open-source company focused on empowering hobbyists to build low-cost, do-it-yourself projects.

She was an instructor at Johns Hopkins University co-teaching intersession courses Haptics For Surgical Robotics (2006); and Developing Facebook Apps (2009).[9]

Reiley founded Squishybotz, and education company and is the author and publisher of Making a Splash, a children's book about growth mindset (2015).[10]

In 2015, she co-founded and was President of She was the initial investor and seed funded the company from her wedding fund.[11] In 2018, she started a new healthcare startup though she still serves on the board and is an advisor to[12] She also serves on Santa Clara University Engineering Advisory Board.[13]

In 2018, she announced that she was a spokesmodel for Guerlain and Harper's Bazaar China, to launch a new international beauty campaign.[14][15] She has been profiled in British Vogue, New York Times, and Wired for her work in AI.[16]

She will be joining the San Francisco Symphony as one of the eight founding creative advisory board under its new musical director Esa-Pekka Salonen which include an Academy Award-nominated composer and McArthur Genius award winning musicians.[17][18]

Research and publications[edit]

Reiley started her freshman year in college by doing underwater robotics research and getting a scuba license. Her research continued for several years, and her interest expanded to haptics and industrial robotic arms.[6] She was selected as a Computing Research Association Distributed Undergraduate Research Fellow.[19]

Reiley was named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (2008-2010) to research strategies for improving human and robotic interaction for her PhD. She was elected to serve on the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society board (2008-2009) to put together key initiatives for thousands of graduate researchers.[20] She was the youngest member to serve on the board.

As of 2018, she has eight technical patents, and has authored more than a dozen papers published in various scientific conference proceedings, refereed journals and conferences.[21]

Diversity advocate[edit]

Reiley has been an active advocate for diversity in engineering and AI. While at Johns Hopkins University, she was on the founding board of the Graduate Women's Organization and the Whiting School of Engineering Diversity Board. At Santa Clara University, she cofounded chapters of Association for Computing Machinery and Society of Women Engineering.[22] She led the JHU Robotics Systems Challenge (2004-2011), SWE and ACM events, and Computer Mania Day workshops which served thousands of underserved minority students. She published a study in an education journal about diversity of middle and high school students in robot competitions.[23]

She joined All Raise, a nonprofit organization that’s behind diversity and inclusion efforts, as a mentor and a Founder for Change (2018).[24]


Reiley is a well-known DIY hacker. She has published several open source tutorials including the first hack to "Air Guitar Hero" - a fun rehabilitation exercise for people with amputations; and a DIY blood pressure monitor system for third world countries.[25][26] She has spoken at Maker Faire and USA Science and Engineering Festival several times,[27] and was the first female engineer featured on the cover of Make magazine.[28][29] Her 3D printed designs have been featured at the CES fashion show.

Her first invention was a humane mousetrap she fashioned at age 8 to catch her runaway pet hamster.[5]

Public appearance[edit]

Reiley has given two TEDx talks,[30][31] and has been a featured speaker at MIT Technology Review Conference,[32] The Atlantic,[33] World Government Summit,[34] Microsoft CEO summit, and USA Science and Engineering Festival.

She has been a guest contributor for IEEE Spectrum,[35] Techcrunch,[36] and MIT Tech Review.[37]



  1. ^ " wants to help autonomous cars talk with the people around them".
  2. ^ "Garage startup uses deep learning to teach cars to drive". USA Today.
  3. ^ a b c d "'s Carol Reiley: Women of Influence". Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  4. ^ SheHeroes (30 August 2016). "Carol Reiley" – via YouTube.
  5. ^ a b "Meet Carol Reiley, a Johns Hopkins robotics scientist who's written a book for kids". 20 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "How These 10 Women Are Redefining What it Means to Be a Feminist Founder". 20 September 2017.
  7. ^ Pitney, Nico (14 May 2015). "Inside the Mind That Built Google Brain: On Life, Creativity, and Failure" – via Huff Post.
  8. ^ "Robots Bring Couple Together, Engagement Ensues". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News.
  9. ^ "Tell your friends: Hopkins students take course to design Facebook apps". Baltimore Sun.
  10. ^ "A New Bedtime Story That Helps Kids Learn to Learn". EdSurge News. 25 November 2014.
  11. ^ "This Startup Is Using Deep Learning to Make Self-Driving Cars More Like Humans". Fortune.
  12. ^ "America's Top 50 Women In Tech". Forbes.
  13. ^ University, Santa Clara. "Engineering Advisory Board - School of Engineering - Santa Clara University".
  14. ^ "法国娇兰 御廷兰花卓能焕活系列".
  15. ^
  16. ^ "The Future In Mind". Vogue.
  17. ^ [h "San Francisco Symphony Lands a Disrupter: Esa-Pekka Salonen"].
  18. ^ "Esa-Pekka Salonen, future music director of the San Francisco Symphony, lays out plans to disrupt the classical world".
  19. ^ "DREU: Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates". Computing Research Association.
  20. ^ "About RAS". IEEE.
  21. ^ "Carol Reiley - Google Scholar Citations".
  22. ^ Yao, Mariya. "Meet These Incredible Women Advancing A.I. Research". Forbes.
  23. ^ "A Fair Game: A Low-Cost Easily Implemented Robotics Competition Leads to Diverse Entrants" (PDF). ASEE. 2009.
  24. ^ "Female Founders".
  25. ^ "What the heck is a surgical roboticist".
  26. ^ "The Future of Robotics and DIY Medical Technology - Make:". 9 June 2015.
  27. ^ "The Future of Robotics". May 27, 2015.
  28. ^ "Meet Carol Reiley - Make:". 20 January 2012.
  29. ^ "TEDxWanChaiWomen". TED. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  30. ^ TEDx Talks (3 July 2011). "From Personal Computers to Personal Robots: Carol Reiley at TEDxBaltimore 2011" – via YouTube.
  31. ^ TEDx Talks (14 July 2015). "Re-writing the Toy Story: Where are all the female roboticists? - Carol Reiley - TEDxWanChaiWomen" – via YouTube.
  32. ^ "Robots on the Road: AI in Autonomous Vehicles - MIT Technology Review". MIT Technology Review Events.
  33. ^ "Self-Driving Car Talk". The Atlantic What's Next.
  34. ^ "Experts Urge Governments to Take a Leading Role in AI and Robotics for the Benefit of Society".
  35. ^ "Using Robots to Train the Surgeons of Tomorrow". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News.
  36. ^ Reiley, Carol. "When Bias in Product Design Means Life or Death". Techcrunch.
  37. ^ Reiley, Carol. "The AI advance that helps computers recognize cats will also allow our cars to drive themselves". MIT Technology Review.
  38. ^ "America's Top 50 Women In Tech". Forbes.
  39. ^ "The Founders Index: A rising generation of female entrepreneurs in the US". Forbes.