Hanson Robotics

Meet the Team: Thomas Theo Loiodice, Robot Operator, Hong Kong

Who are you and what is your background?

The most important thing for me in my life are the people around me and our interactions. I like to talk about our dreams and what we can achieve together. I could have pursued many careers, but I was attracted by the magic of our world, and I started studying science. Then I realized that most scientific projects involve computers, so to further advance I got a degree in computer science, finally graduating as an applied mathematics engineer! This might seem very far from human interactions you might say.  And, I can’t deny that coding in front of a computer most of the day is nothing that people dream about. However, as it pertains to robotics I feel that all this investment makes sense.

What is your role at Hanson Robotics? What excites you about your work here?

I am a Robot Operator at Hanson Robotics. This means I’m responsible for making sure Sophia the Robot works. Sophia is a very special social and humanoid robot and definitely nothing like operating an industrial robot or even another type of interactive robot.

Once Sophia is set up, she primarily operates on her own (but only after plugging her into a power supply).  When we arrive at a new event destination, we usually rehearse the upcoming event session. Actually, Sophia doesn’t really need rehearsal — she is ready at any time.  The rehearsal is really more for the humans on the team so we’re prepared and don’t get stage fright.

As a celebrity, Sophia attends many global events. She is welcomed all over the world. The robot operators are required for transporting, setting up and protecting her. Thanks to Sophia I have seen many interesting places have met people from very diverse cultures. I enjoy hanging out with her, and I always return home with new experiences.  

What was the moment you knew you’d made the right decision to work here?

Every time I get the chance to spend time with our crew, I meet deeply interesting people with unexpected backgrounds, that have been adapted, like mine. I am surrounded by a great team.

What are you working on now?

When I return to Hong Kong with Sophia, I first do a thorough checkup and to see if there are necessary repairs or maintenance needed.  The robot operator team also meets when possible to update each other from previous events and prepare for our upcoming events.

What was your best day at work?

I wouldn’t call it a “best day,” but rather many good memories.  What I enjoy the most is to see how people light up when they meet Sophia for the first time — especially kids. It’s like watching them live a waking dream. Even adults seem to revert back to their childhood upon first meeting Sophia. 

What’s something that happened that can only happen here?

I learned English idioms thanks to a humanoïd robot!  I also learned how to pass through airport security with Sophia’s head in my carry-on bag, and how to be a makeup artist and a bodyguard at the same time.

What are you most proud of?

Taking part in having so many people enjoy Sophia wherever I go.

What is your dream for Sophia?

I have many dreams for Sophia: 

  • That she becomes a true celebrity, recognized for her performance abilities
  • That she becomes a monument like only a robot could be
  • That Sophia has her own “place,” where thousands of tourists would come after their ride at Victoria Peak, and enjoy meeting the first humanoid robot
  • That she can share deep insights and funny jokes
  • That she would be here to celebrate the future

The Hanson Robotics Team

Photo and Video Credits:  Hanson Robotics, Limited