Google X Co-Founder Yoky Matsuoka Joins Apple’s Orchard To Promote Health Initiatives

Top talent is highly coveted in the tech industry, so it's no surprise that Apple jumped at the chance to bring one of the one of the biggest brains in robotics on board. Her name is Yoky Matsuoka and she's joining Apple to help with the outfit's health and fitness initiative, a growing trend in mobile and wearables.

Matsuoka has an impressive resume, one that includes co-founding Google's X lab and serving as head of technology at Nest. She was bound for a vice president role at Twitter last year, but decided to turn down the job offer after being diagnosed what she described on Medium as a life-threatening illness.

Yoky Matsuoka

"Before I started work at Twitter full time, I took some time to get treatment and spend time with my family. The treatments have worked so far and the doctors have given me a thumbs up. A new future has begun to fill my mind again. When you get another chance at life, there’s an opportunity to start from scratch and I feel so lucky to have this. I have not decided what to do next," Matsuoka wrote.

That was in May of last year. Fast forward to today and she's now decided what to do, which is work for Apple under chief operating officer Jeff Williams. He oversees Apple's various health and fitness projects, including the HealthKit API, Research Kit, and CareKit.

Matsuoka originally moved to the United States from Japan to play tennis. Injuries thwarted that plan, though they led her to build a robot that plays tennis. She would go on to get a Ph.D. at MIT where she also helped develop a groundbreaking robotic arm called BarrettHand.