Astro Teller

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Astro Teller
Astro Teller candid.jpg
Astro Teller in 2008
Eric Teller

(1970-05-29) 29 May 1970 (age 48)
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
ResidencePalo Alto, California, United States
Alma materStanford University
Carnegie Mellon University
Known forBodyMedia
Danielle Teller (m. 2012)
AwardsHertz Fellowship
Scientific career
InstitutionsStanford University
Google X
ThesisAlgorithm evolution with internal reinforcement for signal understanding (1998)
Doctoral advisorManuela M. Veloso

Astro Teller (born Eric Teller; 29 May 1970) is an American entrepreneur, scientist, and author, with expertise in the field of intelligent technology.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Teller was born in Cambridge, England and raised in Evanston, Illinois. He is the son of Paul Teller, who was an instructor in the philosophy of science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Chantal DeSoto, a buyer and clothing designer for Sears who later became a teacher of gifted children.[2] His grandparents include both French economist and mathematician Gérard Debreu and Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist Edward Teller.[3] He received the nickname "Astro" after high school friends compared his flat-top haircut to AstroTurf, and reportedly had the image of cartoon dog Astro from The Jetsons painted on his car door in college.[4]

Teller holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Stanford University, Masters of Science in symbolic computation (symbolic and heuristic computation), also from Stanford University, and a PhD in artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a recipient of a Hertz fellowship.[5] After working as a teacher at Stanford University, he became a business executive.


Teller was the co-founder and chairman of BodyMedia, makers of the "BodyMedia FIT", "Bodybugg", and the "Sensewear" armbands (wearable devices that measure sleep, perspiration, motion, and calories burned).[6]

He is also co-founder, director, and former CEO of Cerebellum Capital.[7][8]

In May 2001, Teller was featured on NPR's All Things Considered, discussing how the good economy has shaped the attitudes of 30-year-olds towards their jobs.[9]

He has lectured at the TEDMED Conference (2003 and 2004), South By Southwest (2013), and ideaCity (2004).[10][11][12]

In 2008, Teller appeared as a political commentator on the national French television station France 24.[13][14][15]

Teller is the co-founder and co-host of the Solve for X annual event and internet community.[16]

Since 2010, Teller has been directing Google X laboratories.[17][18][19][20] Projects at Google X include Google Glass, Google driverless car, Google Contact Lens, and Project Loon. Google X spun its project called Genie out into a stand-alone business in 2012.[21] Teller gave a TED Talk at TED2016 on the importance of failure in Google X's approach to pioneering new projects.[22][23]

On 18 October 2016 it was announced that Teller would temporarily be in charge of Google X's Project Wing while the search for its next permanent leader was underway.[24]


Teller's novel, Exegesis, was published in 1997.[25] It was translated into Dutch,[26] Japanese,[27] Danish,[28] German,[29] Italian,[30] and Greeklish.

A second novel, Among These Savage Thoughts, was published in 2006. An experimental novel, it deals with the protagonist's journey to reinvent himself in the imaginary mountain society of Karabas.[31]

His third book, a non-fiction work examining society's attitudes about marriage and divorce entitled Sacred Cows, was published by Diversion Books in 2014 and in the same year he gave a TEDxBoston talk on the book.[32][33]


  1. ^ "Fast Company: Most Creative People".
  2. ^ Pletz, John (18 May 2013). "The biography of Google's X-Man". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  3. ^ Murphy, Victoria (6 June 2005). "Mavericks: Future Teller". Forbes. Archived from the original on 9 April 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  4. ^ Stone, Brad (22 May 2013). "Inside Google's Secret Lab". Bloomberg Businessweek Technology. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  5. ^ The Hertz Foundation provides financial and fellowship support to remarkable PhD students in the physical, biological and engineering sciences.
  6. ^ Lemly, Brad. "Discover Magazine: TEDMED".
  7. ^ "The Mother of Invention" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Cerebellum Capital – Directors & Advisors".
  9. ^ Interview on NPR's All Things Considered "Thirty Years Old".
  10. ^ "TEDMED – Past Speakers".
  11. ^ "SXSW – 2013 Keynote".
  12. ^ "idea City – Past Speakers".
  13. ^ "France24 – Has Obama Already Won?".
  14. ^ "France24 – Will The Democratic Convention boost Obama?".
  15. ^ "France24 – US Elections: The Final Countdown".
  16. ^ "googles-solve-x". The Economist. 29 February 2012.
  17. ^ Gertner, John, "The Truth About Google X: An Exclusive Look Behind The Secretive Lab's Closed Doors", Fast Company magazine, May 2014 issue.
  18. ^ "astro-teller".
  19. ^ "Bio: Astro Teller",
  20. ^ Grossman, David (24 January 2014). "Secret Google lab 'rewards staff for failure'". News: Technology. BBC. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  21. ^ Lunden, Ingrid, "Flux Emerges From Google X And Nabs $8M To Help Build Eco-Friendly Buildings", TechCrunch online, May 2014.
  22. ^ "Astro Teller: The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure". TED. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  23. ^ "TED 2016: Google boss on why it is OK to fail". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Random House: "Exegesis by Astro Teller".
  26. ^ "Exegesis – Dutch Translation".
  27. ^ "Exegesis – Japanese Translation".
  28. ^ "Exegesis – Danish Translation".
  29. ^ "Exegesis – German Translation".
  30. ^ "Exegesis – Italian Translation".
  31. ^ "Astro Teller | Books and Films". Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  32. ^ Diversion Books: "Sacred Cows by Danielle Teller and Astro Teller".
  33. ^ TEDxBoston: "TEDx talk about Sacred Cows".

External links[edit]