Meet Nora C. Duenas, Robot Developer, Hong Kong
Who are you and what is your background
I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. I finished school when I was 23 years old, majoring in architecture, and was eager to start putting my education to work. I was soon employed by small architectural offices, so I had a chance to develop myself professionally in the areas of calculation of structures and construction projects for 7 years.
From a very young age, I had strong artistic aspirations, but at the same time, I had a great curiosity for mechanical and artistic models. My parents encouraged me quite a bit here. So aside from architecture, I have also taken courses in painting, photography, mud molding, ceramic molding, carpentry, makeup, and tailoring.
What is your role at Hanson Robotics? What excites you about your work here?
Currently, I am working as a robot technician, mainly making robot skins (aka Frubber®) and conducting experiments. The most complicated (but fun) challenge is the union of the skin with the mechanical head of Sophia. Every day is an artistic and mechanical exploration to produce the best technical and visual results for the robots.
What was the moment you knew you’d made the right decision to work here?
I consider myself a very lucky person since I am married to a Hanson Robotics engineer. I was introduced to the company and got the opportunity to join the team. I didn’t hesitate for a moment to accept the job offer because it has always been my dream to put my artistic and scientific interests to work at a company like Hanson Robotics.
What are you working on now?
At the moment I am working on a new robot and the chemical formula for its skin.
What was your best day at work?
My best day at work was 8 months ago after a month of failed experiments with the skin “recipe.” The skin needs to be soft like human skin, but at the same time, it must be manageable, resilient, and of course with the angelic face of Sophia. Not being able to achieve our goals was very frustrating. But, with hard work and the help of the other Hanson Robotics’ artists, a great result was achieved. We did a little dance of joy in the lab when we unmolded Sophia’s face, and it was a very gratifying moment.
What’s something that happened that can only happen here?
I think this laboratory is unique and there are many unique experiences that can only happen here. But, the reaction people have when they visit us is really unique. I love to watch our visitors’ faces when they meet and interact with Sophia for the first time. It’s as if Sophia has a magic touch to empathize with people.
What are you most proud of?
Without a doubt, I’m so proud of my co-workers. They are all so talented and passionate about what they do, and we share a good vibe across the team, which is also due to Sophia.
What is your dream for Sophia?
My dream for Sophia is that one day she will be an enormous positive influence on many, many people around the world and will help us all to understand robots and our own human nature.
The Hanson Robotics Team
Photo Credits: Hanson Robotics Limited