Melonee Wise is Agility Robotics' new chief technology officer (CTO). Wise previously served as vice president and general manager of robotics automation at Zebra Technologies. She is the co-founder and former CEO of Fetch Robotics, which was acquired by Zebra in 2021.
Wise is recognized as a pioneer in the robotics industry, particularly for her work in the autonomous mobile robot (AMR) space. In 2022, she was honored with an Engelberger Robotics Award, which is considered to be among the highest accomplishments in robotics.
Wise will now help Corvallis, Ore.-based Agility Robotics improve Digit, its “multi-purpose” and “human-centric” robot.
Specifically, she will focus on “broader software product, and fleet deployment technologies,” the company wrote in a press release yesterday.
“After taking six months off to travel and relax after Fetch, today I’m excited to announce I’ve joined Agility Robotics as CTO,” Wise wrote in a post on LinkedIn on Monday. “I’ll be at Automate for anyone who wants to catch up, ping me if you’d like to grab a drink.”
Earlier this year, the company showcased a new version of Digit at ProMat that includes a head with LED animated eyes and new end-of-arm tools designed to help it pick up totes.
Robotics 24/7 named the humanoid as one of the 10 most interesting robots at the show.
While Agility Robotics is planning to offer Digit to a range of industries, it is first targeting the warehousing and logistics market.
The upgraded model is still in its alpha phase, and the company is working with its Agility Partner Program members to make improvements to the new Digit. Agility said it plans to make the robot commercially available by 2025.
Agility Robotics co-founder Jonathan Hurst, who previously served as CTO, will now be the company's first chief robotics officer. In this role, Hurst will focus on the company's research and development roadmap.
“Agility has had a great deal of highlights recently, but perhaps the most significant is the strategic growth of our leadership team over the past year and the addition of game-changing expertise that will position Agility for long-term success,” Damion Shelton, CEO of Agility Robotics, said in a statement.
“We’ve recently added a CCO, CFO, and COO, and created the exciting new CRO organization led by my co-founder Jonathan Hurst,” he added. “Today, we’re thrilled to cap off this incredible year of leadership growth by welcoming industry luminary and well-known roboticist Melonee Wise to the team as our new CTO.”
In an interview with Robotics 24/7 on the Automate show floor, Jim Lawton, vice president and general manager of robotics automaton at Zebra, congratulated his former colleague.
“Melonee is a classic serial entrepreneur,” he said, noting that she is always looking to work on exciting new technologies. “I think she'll be great for those guys. She was ready to figure out her next gig from a small company perspective.”