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Robots or Humans: How will we test our apps in the future?

Jason Huggins (Sauce Labs Inc)
Location: C260
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

Testing a new technology usually happens in three waves:
1) Manual testing with the actual product in the real world.
2) Automated testing in a product simulator.
3) Automated testing with the actual product in the real world.

As software gets more complex and adds more features, manual testing is not enough. But as more software is used in the physical world, automated testing harnesses will get increasingly exotic. Robotcis might end up being the killer app for automated software testing in the future.

We might have to build robots to test our apps when they run on:

  • Google glass
  • Tesla’s touchscreen dashboard
  • The Pebble watch

Human vs robot testing — some pros and cons:

Human testers:

  • “No programming required.” Easy to start.
  • At first, the only option available.
  • Cheaper to start, more expensive in the long run

Automated testing:

  • Requires skilled programmers. Hard to start.
  • Only emerges when a technology matures.
  • Expensive at the beginning, cheaper in the long run.

This talk will also include a demo of Tapster, a robot I built to automate the testing of mobile applications on a mobile phone device. Tapster is a 3D printable, open source, delta robot design.

Photo of Jason Huggins

Jason Huggins

Sauce Labs Inc

Jason Huggins is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Sauce Labs. Prior to Sauce, Jason was a testing engineer at Google in Mountain View where he worked on the scaled test automation of Google web applications. Jason’s experience also includes time at ThoughtWorks in Chicago. While at ThoughtWorks, Jason created Selenium, an integrated tool for automated web site testing.


  • Tapster (Your new mobile app testing robot)
  • Bitbeam (Make your own Lego technic parts)
  • PinThing (Motorized pin art display)
  • Selenium (Open source web testing tool)