WILLIAM SPIES My Personal & Technical Blog

About Myself

Hello! My name is William Spies, and I am a Robotics Software Engineer at Outrider Technologies here in sunny Colorado.

I am currently working to bring robotic automation into the realm of logistics and trucking. On a daily basis, you can find me writing C++ and Python code, controlling robotic actuators, working with computer vision systems, and mentoring our newest engineers. I am known among my colleagues for being methodical, practical, supportive, lighthearted, and relentless. I am proud to be a part of an elite team of movers and shakers in the realm of robotics, all of whom are a joy to work with!

My time here at Outrider, however, only represents a brief part of my story so far. I originally hail from Cincinnati, Ohio [1]. I stayed in Cincinnati and graduated from the University of Cincinnati (GO BEARCATS!) in June of 2012 with my Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering, along with a minor in Photonics. During my undergraduate career, I spent just over a year co-oping at L3Harris Cincinnati Electronics in the Space Avionics group, where I worked on avionics systems that are used on active launch platforms still today. Much of my free time was consumed by serving as part of a partnership between Habitat for Humanity and the University of Cincinnati, and I took opportunities to show leadership in engineering and community relationship building through the University Honors Program and the Center for Community Engagement.

After my undergraduate studies, I served from mid-2012 to mid-2017 as a leading Electrical Design Engineer, Systems Programmer, and Systems Project Engineer with ATS Automation in Columbus, Ohio. My project portfolio carries the distinction of delivering custom industrial automation systems currently in use by General Motors, Dow Chemical, TRW Automotive, Oral-B, Tesla Motors, First Solar, and various other corporations. I was given several opportunities to lead controls development on cutting-edge, highly-automated industrial manufacturing lines, and those opportunities served as critical stepping stones on the path to where I find myself today. At the peak of my responsibilities at ATS, I was leading a warm and brilliant team of twelve Systems Programmers with over 100 cumulative years of systems and robot programming experience. I also passed many moments at the Columbus Idea Foundry [2] and was an active participant in the Columbus swing dancing community, where I met my lovely and wonderful wife.

Towards the end of my time in Columbus, I kicked off the next chapter of my life by applying to graduate schools around the country. I was accepted to Northwestern University’s accelerated MSR program in early 2017 and we moved up to Chicago shortly thereafter. In September of 2018, I graduated from Northwestern University (GO WILDCATS!) with my Masters of Science in Robotics along with a cohort of nearly two dozen other incredible individuals. While studying at NU, I specialized in computer vision applications, 3D reconstruction, embedded systems programming (a.k.a. working in ROS), and robotic manipulation.

Part of my responsibilites to the MSR program led me to join the Computational Photography Lab as a Research Scientist under Dr. Oliver Cossairt. For the several months I worked in the CPL, my main areas of focus involved working alongside Dr. Florian Willomitzer on an improved implementation of Flying Triangulation and on a novel use of WebRTC to facilitate surface measurements of famous paintings and stained glass works using consumer-grade electronic devices (that’s my hand holding the Android tablet in Figure 1a of the Optics Express article).

When I am not tinkering with robots or working on side projects, you can find me searching for new coffee shops and food spots, trying out a new board game, rock climbing, playing with my dog Luna, looking for interesting places to explore, swing dancing, reading a good book, or building things in Factorio.

Of course, I cannot hope to include everything in just this segment…but pictures may help fill in a few gaps:


If you have professional inquiries, check the Resume section of the website for PDF and HTML versions of my resume for a specially-reserved contact address.

If you have other questions about the site, please send an email to admin[at]spieswl.com.

[1] : Goetta is the real cuisine of note, the chili is just a trap for out-of-towners.
[2] : The CIF is an incredible place for fostering creativity, mischief, and entrepreneurship. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in Columbus.

About the Website

This site, and any opinions or insights expressed on my part, are the responsibility of me, William Spies. Any software, directions, schematics, and other creative content is to be used at your own risk; I bear no responsibility if you happen to graze, taze, or lase yourself while recreating one of my projects!

Original pictures, code, documents, or other non-website-related content is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The website infrastructure (everything other than original content covered above) is covered under MIT License and is freely available at GitHub.