Photo of Gerardo Portilla

Artificial intelligence & robotics

Gerardo Portilla

Director of Hardware Engineering & Robotics, Petaoptik

Year Honored


Gerardo Portilla is an electrical mechanical engineer whose passion for innovation has led him to design a bicycle for Mars exploration and a robot that can walk in underwater environments for the exploration and cultivation of algae.

His latest innovation is a robot assistance dog for visually impaired and disabled people which guides the user in both internal and external environments using Google maps.

The robotic dog, called TEFI, has several models of artificial intelligence including object recognition, which identifies traffic lights, cars, and other potential hazards. The robot also contains voice recognition algorithms, allowing the user to communicate directly and issue directions on specific tasks. It can also make calls and send messages to the user’s friends and family in case of emergency. 

As a quadruped robot, TEFI has stable locomotion which adapts well to all types of terrain, making it suitable for use in a range of environments.

The current cost of an assistance dog is around €35,000, not including its care and upkeep. Training and adaptation takes between 12 and 14 months for a service life of approximately seven to 10 years. With an immediate acquisition time and a cost of less than €5,000, Portilla’s innovation makes assistance care accessible to many more people globally.