The robot-maker with a Star Wars dream

With every desk decorated with DIY models and widgets, the office of DFRobot leaves no doubt that this is a space for creative doers.

Ye Chen, the CEO of the robotics and open source hardware provider, has one simple requirement of his engineers, i.e., that they be makers, people who have built something before they come to join him.

“Some people say I want to build something. But if you haven’t actually spent your time in practice to build one thing, it will always be your dream; you won’t be a maker,” says Ye.

Ye founded DFRobot in 2008, growing what in 2003 was an online robotics community called Robotic Fans into a dream robotics factory.

As a PhD student back then, Ye was already in the midst of building a robot. Although the work was a serious struggle, he was far ahead of those who were still just imagining and talking about the future of robotics.

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