A Day in the Life of Third Wave

My name is Gui Cavalcanti, and I’m a Senior Technical Program Manager here at Third Wave Automation. It’s my job to make sure we’re doing the right work at the right time to meet our company milestones, and come up with plans, backup plans, and backup backup plans if (and when) things go wrong – because building robots is HARD.

I started building robots in high school as a part of a FIRST Robotics team – Maggie Walker Team 422 represent! I then went to Olin College of Engineering, where I built all sorts of weird biologically-inspired robots like tuna fish, snakes, and other critters. I then turned that into a career by going to work for Boston Dynamics right out of college, where I was a mechanical engineer and systems integrator for robots like BigDog, PETMAN, and LS3. While at Boston Dynamics, I ended up missing my high school and college hobby workshops so much that I started a makerspace called Artisan’s Asylum just so I could build my own hobby robots from scratch. It took over my life, introduced me to entrepreneurship, and I ended up quitting my job so I could help get it off the ground. It’s still running 12 years later, and serves thousands of members and students a year back in Boston, Massachusetts.

It turns out that when I’m bored and surrounded by heavy duty manufacturing equipment, I get all sorts of crazy ideas, and I ended up starting another company called MegaBots out of the makerspace. At MegaBots, we brought the giant fighting robots of science fiction to life, and built two multi-ton, two-seater combat mechs over the course of 4 years. We challenged a Japanese company called Suidobashi Heavy Industries to a duel, and had an international-yet-underground giant robot fight in a secret abandoned gear factory 2 hours outside of Tokyo. Unfortunately, we were about 20 years ahead of our time, and the world was not yet ready for live-action giant robot fights on the stadium circuit, so we closed up shop.

The debut of Eagle Prime, a 15 ton, 16 foot tall, 430 horsepower, 2-seater combat mech designed and built to fight other mechs in the world’s first Giant Robot Duel

I then went on to start Breeze Automation, a company making super lightweight robot arms out of fabric, plastic, and fluid pressure, but we had to shut down when COVID hit. After that, I started a company called Open Source Medical Supplies, which organized 70,000 makers around the world to produce personal protective equipment for their local hospitals, when the supply chain crisis started and hospitals couldn’t get the equipment they needed. After running that nonprofit and helping fight the pandemic, I decided I really wanted to get back into engineering and robotics, and found Third Wave Automation right as they were launching really cool new projects.

Third Wave is full of incredibly smart, motivated, and fun people that are easy to work with. Working here has been awesome – watching these forklifts slowly turn into real products that are solving real-world problems has been really rewarding. The company is agile, open to feedback and change, really focusing on the right problems, and I’m excited to be here.

Tens of thousands of everyday citizens joined Open Source Medical Supplies to help make PPE for their local hospitals during the supply chain crisis at the start of COVID-19

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