roboticist | engineer
Jessica Banks is a roboticist, engineer, and experience designer who creates kinetic furniture, lighting, and interactive installations. She is co-founder of RockPaperRobot (RPR), a boutique engineering design firm in New York City specializing in the innovation and fabrication of high-end kinetic furniture and lighting. As Head of Product Development, Jessica fuses art and technology to create beautifully reactive objects with novel actuation schemes — from manually manipulated to fully robotic/autonomous. She relishes in defying expectations through artful execution combined with a staunch allegiance to utility, apparent simplicity, and technical excellence. RPR works with clients to customize products that enhance the versatility of residential and commercial spaces, and celebrate the expression of unabashed style.
Jessica’s multi-disciplinary background has also established her as a creative and technical resource for leading agencies. Her work includes a broad range of projects including: campaign consultation for large ad agencies; development of global initiatives for international corporations (e.g. GE Health Care); and design of robotic projects for Frank Gehry, Michel Gondry. Jessica’s technical breadth combined with marketing acumen and imagination make her an outstanding addition to our network of talent at symbologie..
Jessica holds an Engineer’s Degree and a Master of Science in robotics from MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) with a minor in biology. She left graduate school just shy of her PhD to teach about sustainable and distributed power systems in MIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept. Jessica also holds a Bachelor’s of Science with Distinction in General Physics from the University of Michigan and a creative writing minor. A fellowship at Eyebeam Art & Technology brought her to New York to become an entrepreneur, exploring the intersection of art, technology, and commerce.
She has spoken at numerous conferences and on panels about design and manufacturing. Her artwork has been exhibited in both the US and abroad and her work and writing has been featured in over 100 on and offline media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, Wired, Seed Magazine, Vogue, WSJ, and others. Jessica herself was featured on an engineering based reality TV show for TLC / BBC. She has also been featured on the PBS series “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers”.
Jessica’s days are filled pursuing her lofty goal to keeping people aware, awake, and awed so she especially appreciates the instant sense of accomplishment afforded by running out of toothpaste.