Published on 16 May 2022

The robotics trainer

MAE alumnus Dr Hung Pham, co-founder and CTO of Eureka Robotics, was named one of the Top 10 Vietnamese CTOs by VnExpress. Hung describes his journey from researcher to CTO and how his start-up is aiming to help people do more with less using technology.

By Janis Zhang

A tech spin-off from NTU co-founded by School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering alumnus Dr Hung Pham (Class of 2015) and his PhD supervisor Associate Professor Pham Quang Cuong in 2018, Eureka Robotics wants to "liberate humanity from toil" with the help of robotic technologies. With offices in Singapore and France and distribution partners in China, Japan, and the USA, they envision a future where people can focus on more creative work while mundane tasks could be automated or fulfilled by robots.

Dr Hung Pham (left) and his co-founder Associate Professor Pham Quang CuongDr Hung Pham (left) and his co-founder Associate Professor Pham Quang Cuong.

In November last year, the company developed software that makes industrial robots nimbler, giving them the dexterity of human hands that can manipulate minuscule objects such as glass lenses and electronic components without damaging them. This technology has now been made available for industrial robots manufactured by Denso Wave.

In the same month, Eureka's CTO Dr Hung Pham was recognised as one of the Top 10 Vietnamese Chief Technology Officers by Vietnam’s online news site VnExpress.

Just recently in May, Eureka Robotics raised US$4.25 million in its pre-Series A funding round. The funding will be used to develop the company's flagship product, Eureka Controller, which enables non-programmer engineers to easily programme robotics to perform high accuracy and high agility tasks.

Eureka Robotics is now turning its focus towards repackaging and commercialising their technologies, to make them more accessible and user-friendly. "What we are trying to do now is bring all the research we have done so far for the last ten years to the market and put it in a form that even if you don't have a PhD in Robotics or Computer Vision, you can still train AI models and build robotic systems … that is not possible yet with the existing products in the market," Hung explained.

As with most entrepreneurial journeys, dealing with unknowns is faced by all start-up founders. Hung had to confront many uncertainties in the business but still make decisions. He credited his PhD education in NTU for training him to deal with ambiguity at work and developing his mental stamina to manage and lead a start-up.

Dr Hung Pham (far left) and his team from Eureka RoboticsDr Hung Pham (far left) and his team from Eureka Robotics

In recent years, Hung has seen many new robotics and AI companies springing up across the globe as technologies in this field mature. "We are beginning to see this technology being deployed in industrial factories. People have been trying to automate processes for a very long time and have attempted to bring technologies like computer vision or AI into the market," he said.

Hung believes that robotics and AI technology will become more affordable and benefit more people as it becomes more prevalent in future. He said: "The future of robotics and AI is very bright in Asia Pacific and even the world and it is going to improve in the next decade."

Hung had this to say to fellow scientists in his field looking to commercialise their ideas or inventions: "With the advances in AI, it has allowed us to automate some of the very challenging tasks that are extremely tedious for a human to do. When you look back at what you have created, you will realise that you have made a difference and this is what matters the most. When things get really difficult, remind yourself that you're trying to do good and let this be the motivation to carry on what you are working on."