About Us

Apptronik is a spin out from the Human Centered Robotics Lab at the University of Texas at Austin. We were founded in Early 2016 with the goal of bringing forth the next generation of robots that will change the way we live and work. Our team is made up of a diverse group with expertise ranging in everything from robotics, business, art, to marketing. We all share a passion for using technology to change the world.

Our Vision

Apptronik has a bold vision for the future. We believe that it is not Man vs. Machine, but Man AND Machine that will take humanity into the next stage of evolution. We want to build machines that empower humans to live to our fullest potential. We are passionate about the role that technology can play in our society, and are uncompromising in our commitment to excellence in our engineering and products. We want to blur the lines between art and technology, and build a company culture around pushing the limits of what is possible.

Our Team

The Apptronik Team
Dr. Nicholas Paine
Co-Founder, CEO
Dr. Nicholas Paine
Co-Founder, CEO

Nick Paine received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering all from University of Texas at Austin. His Ph.D. studies focused on the development of the UT Series Elastic Actuator, a compact high performance actuator for robotics. This technology was adopted by numerous organizations worldwide including NASA-JSC, IHMC, Changwon National University, Stone Age Robotics, and Daegu Institute of Science and Technology.

From 2012-2013 he was a member of the NASA-JSC DARPA Robotics Challenge team where he helped develop high-performance hardware and software for compliant control of the Valkyrie humanoid robot’s legs and arms. From 2014-2015 he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Human Centered Robotics Lab at UT working on forced convective cooling of electric motors and embedded system design.

Dr. Luis Sentis
Co-Founder, Chief Scientist
Dr. Luis Sentis
Co-Founder, Chief Scientist

Luis Sentis is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin and a contractor for NASA Johnson Space Center. He received his Ph.D.and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He went on to become a postdoctoral fellow in the Computer Science Department at Stanford. He holds a B.S. (Honors Thesis) degree in Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. He started his career in Silicon Valley as R&D Engineer.

In Austin, he also leads the Human Centered Robotics Laboratory, and experimental facility with many PhD students and humanoid robots. He was the UT Austin’s Lead for DARPA’s Robotics Challenge with NASA Johnson Space Center. His research focuses on designing human-centered robots, whole-body control software architectures, high performance series elastic actuators and embedded control systems, and motion planning for dynamic locomotion. He has received various awards such as the NASA Elite Team Award for his contributions on designing the Valkyrie humanoid robot, the 3rd Prize at the [email protected] Domestic Standard Platform League, and the Best ICRA 2017 Paper Manipulation Award. He has over 100 scientific publications.

Bill Helmsing
Co-Founder, VP of Operations
Bill Helmsing
Co-Founder, VP of Operations

Bill is former Army officer from Western Colorado.  He graduated from West Point in 2007 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering studying the applications and feasibility of alternative energy sources for deployed Army units.  Bill then went on to serve as an Army infantry officer for 8 years spending time in Georgia, Alaska, New York and overseas.  Upon exiting the service in 2015, attended the University of Texas, Austin to pursue his MS in Mechanical Engineering. He graduated in the spring in 2017 with an emphasis on dynamic systems and controls.  Bill is currently attending the University of Washington pursuing his MBA.

Jeff Cardenas
Co-Founder, VP of Innovation and Product Development
Jeff Cardenas
Co-Founder, VP of Innovation and Product Development

Jeff specializes in new product development and go-to-market strategy. He received his Master’s of Science in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin. He previously worked in the Global Commercialization Group at the IC2 Institute at UT Austin, working with innovators from around the globe to take innovations out of the research lab and to the market. He holds an undergraduate Business degree from UT Austin, and worked in the Technology practice of Deloitte Consulting. He previously founded several start-ups and a non-profit, and has a passion for using technology to solve difficult social problems.

Jonas Fox
Director of Mechanical Engineering
Jonas Fox
Director of Mechanical Engineering

After receiving a BA in Political Science from Reed College, Jonas pursued hands-on experience as a carpenter and welder. He then started his own design / build company in 2008 and continued to hone his skills as a builder and designer for the next 3 years. In 2011, Jonas returned to school at the University of Texas to pursue his BS in Mechanical Engineering, graduating with “highest honors”. At UT, Jonas spent 5 years doing R&D in robotic and exoskeleton systems before joining Apptronik.

Orion Campbell
Lead Controls Engineer
Orion Campbell
Lead Controls Engineer

Orion Campbell received his BS in Mechanical Engineering with High Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013. After graduating, he worked as a Drilling Engineer in the Gulf of Mexico for three years, specializing in new technology deployment and system modeling for deepwater drilling operations before returning to UT to pursue his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2016. As a Graduate Research Assistant in the Human Centered Robotics Lab, his research focused on whole-body control and trajectory planning for humanoid robots, and he worked on several projects designing and implementing real-time networked control systems for multi-DOF robotic systems. He joined the Apptronik team in 2018 and continues to work towards his PhD at the University of Texas.

Paul Fleury
Lead Mechanical Engineer
Paul Fleury
Lead Mechanical Engineer
Josh James
Controls Engineer Specialist
Josh James
Controls Engineer Specialist
Jason Olivero
Project Manager
Jason Olivero
Project Manager

I combine varied experiences, my communications skill set, and my ability to predict problems to lead any team I’m a part of to success. I work hard to be a force multiplier.

Working the electrical aspects of a mechatronic system puts me in the perfect place to leverage my skills and experience for Product Management. The electrical team in robotics must understand the mechanical aspects and constraints just as they need to understand the software customer needs and requirements. Ours is arguably the most cradle-to-grave location in the entire design / development process. I have long taken close note of these interactions in order to inform my decision making and allow me to improve as a team leader and organizer.

Uday Savaria
Senior Electrical Engineer
Uday Savaria
Senior Electrical Engineer

Uday Savaria is an MS Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While at UMass Amherst, He has been a Research Assistance in Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics where he focused on designing electronics and embedded systems for a robot system. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication from V.V.P Engineering College, Rajkot in India. He has been involved in many robotics competitions and led various projects that include electrical design and embedded programing during his studies. His Interests involve Robotics, Electronics and Embedded systems such as building robots and its features, introducing automation or remote control in daily human interactions with world.

Brad Resh
Senior Mechanical Engineer
Brad Resh
Senior Mechanical Engineer

Brad is a recent graduate from The University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in Mechanical Engineering and a specialization in Robotics. He has pursued many projects while at UT, including designing and building a solar powered water distillation system, a search and rescue quadcopter, and a robotic hand muscle therapy device. He has internship and lab experience in robotic mechanical design and series elastic actuators.

Ryan Harkins
Mechanical Engineer
Ryan Harkins
Mechanical Engineer

Ryan is an ambitious graduate of Virginia Tech’s Mechanical Engineering program. A longtime member of design teams, including the Human Powered Submarine and Astrobotics teams, he has experience with teamwork, leadership, and team management. In addition to competitive engineering teams, he has experience in laboratory engineering settings as an undergraduate research assistant in Virginia Tech’s robotics research labs.

Ryan has built a solid foundation of experience in machining and engineering design working on projects and various robotic platforms including full size humanoid robots for the DARPA Robotics Competition and the Navy’s SAFFiR project, an advanced propulsion system for the International Submarine Races, a custom perception superstructure on a iRobot Packbot for the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, and compact actuation mechanisms on a Martian mining robot for NASA’s Robotic Mining Competition.

Joel Cox
Robotic Technician
Joel Cox
Robotic Technician
Michael McClafferty
Property and Material Manager
Michael McClafferty
Property and Material Manager
Advisory Board
Bob Metcalfe
Founder of EtherNet, 3Com
Bob Metcalfe
Founder of EtherNet, 3Com
Paul Kinscherff
M&A Boeing
Paul Kinscherff
M&A Boeing
Pike Powers
Texas Innovation
Pike Powers
Texas Innovation
Gordon Daugherty
President of Capital Factory
Gordon Daugherty
President of Capital Factory
Bill Welch
Co-Founder
Bill Welch
Co-Founder

Bill Welch is a retired Air Force Brigadier General and a long-time executive level business leader and entrepreneur in Austin, Texas. He was formerly CEO of Apptronik, taking the company from inception to Seed stage. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Boston University and his Master’s Degree in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business.

As an entrepreneur, he is recognized as the founder of successful business ventures in a diverse range of businesses.  He established his first business success through an award winning 30 year career in commercial real estate. He founded the nationally acclaimed aviation service company, Twomey/Welch Aerocorp, and quickly built sales to over $3M/yr. before selling the company in 1998.  He and his wife started a retail business that has operated profitably for the past 27 years.  He also founded successful enterprises with interests in real estate, ranching, fast food restaurants, and technology. 

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