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Yoky Matsuoka
Yoky Matsuoka

Apple is getting a hand from robotics pioneer Yoky Matsuoka. The Google X co-founder and robotic hand pioneer, formerly of the University of Washington, is joining the Cupertino-based tech giant.

The news comes via Fortune, which reports that Matsuoka will be reporting to Jeff Williams, who oversees health initiatives like HealthKit and ResearchKit for the company. Besides her work on robotic hands, Matsuoka won a MacArthur Foundation genius grant for her part in helping stroke victims use limbs.

But Matsuoka’s career extends well beyond health. She has taught robotics at the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon, a job she left to join Google in 2009. After helping to start Google X, she officially left UW and joined Nest, where she helped build the learning software behind the company’s smart thermostat.

She rejoined Google for a short time in 2014 when the search giant bought Nest, but left for a job a Twitter the next year. However, health problems kept her from taking taking the job. Now, after a year off and a full recovery, she’s heading to Apple.

We’ve contacted Apple for details on Matsuoka’s role, and will update this post when we hear back.

Williams has shown off the power of Apple’s health programs in recent keynotes, and Matsuoka’s past in building software that helps disabled people and learns from users may be of use in future products. However, her multifaceted talents mean she could be working on something completely new for Apple, as well.

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