Steffi Paepcke

Steffi Paepcke


Meet Steffi Paepcke, lead designer and co-founder of Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), a non-profit organization based in Mountain View. OSRF is a spin off from Willow Garage, a robotics startup in Menlo Park.

OSRF’s mission is to support the development and distribution of open source software in robot research, education and product development points out Paepcke. OSRF has two products: Robot Operating System (ROS) and Gazebo, which is a a physics based robotics simulator.

Paepcke’s journey into the field of robotics is an interesting and an unusual one. She studied psychology as an undergraduate and had no idea that she would end up working in the robotics industry. Her interest in robots and robotics was kindled when she interned at Willow Garage  and worked with Leila Takayama, who went on to become her mentor. Takayama encouraged Paepcke to pursue a masters in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, she headed straight back to Silicon Valley and got involved with OSRF.

We spoke to Paepcke about robots, the DARPA Challenge and how robots will change our world. Will robots take away our jobs?  She is the only non-engineer at OSRF and we wanted to find out if you have to be an engineer to be part of science and tech? What are her thoughts on women and STEM education and mentorship? Tune in to find out what Paepcke has to say.


This interview was aired on TV in the San Francisco Bay area. This is part of our Women in Science and Technology Series and sponsored by Zoho Corporation.

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