Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has just hired Yoky Matsuoka to work on health-tech initiatives, as reported by Fortune.

Matsuoka is a successful roboticist who worked on the team that founded Google X. Additionally, she also won the MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Genius’ award in 2007.  Matsuoka won this award when she was a professor at the University of Washington. After leaving Google’s research division – responsible for creating the first autonomous car – she joined the smart-home firm Nest as its vice-president.

Yoky Matsuoka, former VP at Nest with a robotic arm
Roboticist Yoky Matsuoka, has had a successful career considering she has been the vice president of technology at Nest, a co-founder of Google X and now Apple. Image Credit: The Atlantic

Her LinkedIn page confirms she has started at Apple. The Fortune report states that Matsuoka is set to work for the Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and join initiatives to give apps and mobile devices applications on the health care field. In addition to the Apple Watch, Williams specifically oversees HealthKit, CareKit and ResearchKit.

After establishing Google’s X lab, Matsuoka moved to Nest. And it was co-founded by one of her students when Matsuoka taught robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. She led the Nest’s thermostat but also said she would leave the company when Google acquired it in 2014.

The roboticist’ work at UW focused on linking brain functions to robotics. She told The Seattle Times in 2007 that she was fascinated by robots that allowed people to improve their quality of life. Especially when talking about patients with spinal-cord injuries, Parkinson’s and other severe conditions.

Technology has been a passion for Matsuoka, even at the hardest times

Matsuoka – whose reason to move to the U.S. from Japan was to seek a tennis career – was about to start at Twitter as a vice-president last year. But she decided to take a time off work after she was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Matsuoka said she would get treatment and spend time with her family, according to a post on Medium. Luckily for her and the tech business, she said treatments had been effective.

“I am spending time with my family and working on some personal projects. But I can’t imagine leaving the world of technology and what has been a passion for me. I want to work again, but also want to take time to construct this new life I have been so blessed to be given,” she said at the time.

Source: The Seattle Times