David Luan, Andover '09, was selected to be a apart of the inaugural Top 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship for his work in robotics - given by Peter Thiel, a venture capital angel. David came to the US from China when he was 6 and took his first computer science class when he was 8. By 2010 when he was selected for the Fellowship, David had already been involved with the robotics research for over five years at iRobot Corporation. He admittedly took a leave of absence from Yale University and is now pursuing his dream in robotics with the Fellowship.
David's project consists of creating a place for robots to download functions and make them capable of doing other tasks. "I want to get to a point where we have an ecosystem of robots in which each robot can have its functionality extended by new hardware," David goes on to say, "[And its functionality can be extended] by new software, like the Apple app store model in which any developer can write code for a robot to do new things...Robots will be able to do tasks they don't already know how to do."
The Thiel Foundation was founded by Peter Thiel in 2010 and grants the most affluent and leaders of technology of the younger generation. Each of 20 students receives a $100,000 grant to create and implement their innovations - the only condition is every student needs to retract 2 years to the project where they will commit their time to the project. These Fellows will live amongst one another where they will have access an unlimited supply of resources.
Peter was the co-founder of Paypal, was an early investor of Facebook, and was one of the founders of The Founders Fund - a $275M venture capital fund founded in 2005.
Here is his profile