Steffi Paepcke

Greetings! I work on all things design at the Open Source Robotics Foundation, a small robotics software non-profit in Mountain View, California. As the sole member of the OSRF design team, I identify simultaneously as a User Researcher, Interaction Designer, User Experience (UX) Designer, and robot swag master.

In these roles, I aim to raise the bar for usability of open source software, and help make robotics accessible to a wider audience through thoughtful, user-centered design.

I studied psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz before working at Willow Garage as a Human-Robot Interaction research assistant. Following Willow Garage, I obtained a Masters of Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.

In my spare time, I hoard Vitamin D by hiking, running and swimming, construct jewelry of questionable structural integrity, feed my clog fetish, and compulsively apply ChapStick.

Publications & Conferences

Paepcke, Steffi & Poubel, Louise. "What’s new in Gazebo? Upgrading your simulation user experience!" ROSCon 2016, 8 October 2016, Seoul, South Korea. Keynote address.
[PDF] [Video]

C. Aguero, N. Koenig, I. Chen, H. Boyer, S. Peters, J. Hsu, B. Gerkey, S. Paepcke, J. Rivero, J. Manzo, E. Krotkov and G. Pratt, 'Inside the Virtual Robotics Challenge: Simulating Real-Time Robotic Disaster Response', IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 494-506, 2015.

Robots, Women, and Design: Opportunities Abound
April 28, 2015. OSRF blog post written as a precursor to speaking on the Silicon Valley Robotics Influencer Series panel on women in robotics.

Paepcke, S. & Takayama, L. (2010). Judging a bot by its cover: An experiment on expectation setting for personal robots. Proceedings of Human-Robot Interaction: HRI 2010, Osaka, JP, 45-52. [21% acceptance rate]

Press & Outreach

Futurama panel. Silicon Valley Forum's Women in Tech Festival. March 30, 2016 at Microsoft in Mountain View, CA.
"An exploration of Next-Gen technology, and the women leading us there."

My first televised interview! The Kamla Show. December 17, 2015.

R2-D2 or C-3PO? Robotics designers weigh in on which approach makes the most sense." ZDNet. December 19, 2015.
Read my thoughts on robot design (slides 3 and 4).

Mentor for Outreachy (formerly Outreach Program for Women), a program that helps those underrepresented in FOSS get involved.


I'm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can reach me at spaepcke[at]gmail, or via LinkedIn.