Terry Fong

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Fong discusses his involvement in and contributions to the field of robotics. He recounts his time at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and NASA Ames, and the research work and projects he completed. He reviews his various robotics collaborations, his involvement with Fourth Planet, Inc. and as director of the robotics group, and his contributions to virtual reality interfaces and Human-Robot Interaction research. Additionally, he reflects on the evolution and challenges of robotics and provides advice to young people interested in the field.


Terry Fong is NASA's Senior Scientist for Autonomous Systems, a position he has held since 2017. He is also Chief Roboticist and former Director (2004-2017) of the Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) at the NASA Ames Research Center. Terry previously served as project manager for the NASA Human Exploration Telerobotics (HET) project, which developed and tested advanced telerobotic systems on the International Space Station. From 2002-2004, Terry was a post-doctoral fellow and the deputy leader of the Virtual Reality and Active Interfaces Group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). From 1997-2000, he was Vice President of Development for Fourth Planet, Inc., a developer of real-time visualization software. Terry received his B.S. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. Terry's research interests include space and field robotics, human-robot interaction, virtual reality user interfaces, and planetary mapping.