Apple hires Nest’s former head of technology

“Apple has hired famed robotics expert Yoky Matsuoka, one of the co-founders of Google’s X lab and former head of technology at Nest, to work on the iPhone maker’s health projects,” Aaron Pressman reports for Fortune. “Matsuoka left Nest last year and was headed to Twitter until she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, according to a post she wrote on Medium last May. Treatment of the undisclosed illness was effective, she wrote.”

“Apple said Matsuoka is working for chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who oversees the tech giant’s growing number of health initiatives,” Pressman reports. “Those efforts include the HealthKit framework for developing apps, ResearchKit for using mobile devices in medical studies, and CareKit to help individuals improve their own medical care.”

“After moving to the United States from Japan as a teenager to pursue a tennis career, she attended the University of California, Berkeley. Injuries waylaid her future in tennis, but she became interested in building a tennis-playing robot, a pursuit that led her to MIT where she got a Ph.D. and helped develop the BarrettHand, an revolutionary robotic arm,” Pressman reports. “She then spent a decade in academia at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington in Seattle as a professor of robotics. Among her students at Carnegie Mellon was Matt Rogers, who went on to co-found Nest…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Matsuoka’s life so far vibrantly illustrates the following:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference. — Steve Jobs


  1. I am a regular reader of MDN and wish to respond in the following manner. I don’t do this often, but I feel led to today.

    When I see this sentence – “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

    I absolutely agree that you have to trust in something. For me that’s Jesus. He claimed to be the only way to God. So he is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. I choose to believe the latter. I hope this is an open enough forum that if you wax philosophical, your readers can as well.

    1. Yes and no. Mostly no.

      He claimed to be the only way to God. The only WAY to God. Jesus’ WAY is the way. Get it? His WAY.

      What’s his WAY? Love, Integrity, Sacrifice, Kindness, Truth, Compassion, Conviction, Absolute confidence in oneness — that we are one with each other, one with God, one with creation, one with all that is.

      So you don’t have to believe in Jesus.

      Rather, you have to find the Way. The Tao, if you will, which means way. (Note, the early Christians were called “followers of the WAY” Acts).

      There is a way that leads to peace, truth, and love. Find that way and you find the way. You find the way Jesus found and lived — that he and countless others have found and lived. The saints found them. So also the mystics of any “religion.” So also the compassionate of any “religion”.

      Finally, consider this: I am convinced that the last thing Jesus hoped for was to create a new religion. He had little time or humor for religion, as far as I can tell. Certainly he consistently defied basic tenets of his religion because he thought they were ridiculous at best and actively harmful at worst. (When he said I haven’t come to abolish the law, I’ve come to fulfill it, he meant that, yes there is a LAW, but it is essential, simple and all-encompassing, having nothing to do with diet, holy days or other nonsense, but rather with living and being Love.)

      So Jesus came to abolish religion. To bring what, instead? To bring something beyond religion — higher than it, deeper than it, absolutely more than it. What is that? It is true humanity, one which is without fear, without grasping after the wind, without meaningless striving, and is instead infused with a transcending understanding of God, which is that God is all in all, not beyond but here, not out there but in here, not separate from me but in and through me, not alone eternal but eternal in all that is; thus leading to a life of radical compassion, sacrifice, joy, peace and freedom.

      I reckon it’ll take humanity another 2000 years to get it, frankly. But little by little we are. Heck, look at me. I used to be an asshole. Now I’m aware I’m an asshole, and that is making all the difference.

  2. For most, Medicine is a calling, not a mere career, like accounting or video editing. Scalpel-edge technology expands the opportunity for an individual to make a life’s work of healing others. Yoky Matsuoka signed up with Apple to do just that, with Apple’s ResearchKit, HealthKit and other frameworks that make smart use of crowdsourced medical data. As Florence Nightingale proved a hundred years ago, statistics, done right, can lead to cures for both disease and wilful ignorance.

    I wish her well.

  3. Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness in the past sounds like she will be motivated when it comes to the importance of health capabilities in the Apple Watch.
    She sounds like a great find.

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