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Medtronic today announced it appointed former Amazon executive Ken Washington as chief technology and innovation officer.
In this newly created role, Washington will leverage his extensive experience leading technology development and execution across industries, including robotics, consumer products, automotive and space. He will also become a member of the Medtronic Executive Committee.
“This new leadership role will help Medtronic to harness the innovative spirit of our founders and ensure we are capitalizing on our scientific and technological knowledge to invent, innovate and disrupt the healthcare technology market of the future,” Chair and CEO Geoff Martha said in a news release. “Dr. Washington will help Medtronic expand use of our technology platforms across our portfolio – including robotics, sensors, implantables and AI – improving our returns on investments in innovation and expanding our technological competitive advantage to drive durable growth.”
Washington most recently served as VP and GM of consumer robotics at Amazon. The company in late 2021 introduced its Astro home robot, which is essentially an Echo Show 10 on wheels. Amazon said Astro can be used for a variety of things, including home monitoring, videoconferencing with family and friends, entertaining children, and all of the same features we’ve come to know and love from Alexa devices – listen to music, check your schedule, etc.
Astro can map your home and go to specific rooms on command. The voice-controllable robot can recognize faces, deliver items to specific people, after a human puts the item in the storage bin, and use third-party accessories to, for example, record blood pressure. It can detect the sound of a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector or breaking glass. If you have a Ring account, Astro can send you notifications if it notices something unusual.
Washington has also been the chief technology officer at Ford Motor Co., where he oversaw development of the company’s technology strategy, including next-generation vehicle architectures, controls and automated systems. Washington also spent seven years at Lockheed Martin in numerous leadership roles, including chief technology officer, chief privacy officer and VP of the advanced technology center in Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.