Manuela Veloso is one of the world's most renowned roboticists, artificial-intelligence researchers and hand talkers. Born and raised in Portugal, Veloso has spent most of the past 40 years lecturing to packed halls. When she's really feeling one of her greatest hits - the creation of her robot soccer team, the eternal mysteries of AI - she puts her whole body into it, like the Tina Turner of computer science.
Today, Veloso is telling a eureka story. In 2010, she and her fellow researchers were working on robots designed to navigate their way across the campus of Carnegie Mellon University. "Literally, there was always a problem," says Veloso. "A door would be closed. There was water on the floor. Stupid people would stand in front of the robot. I mean, it was just a nightmare."