Bruce completed a BE (1st class) and PhD in the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Canterbury. After working with NZ Electricity for three years and a year at the DSIR in Wellington, he moved to Canada and spent ten years in the Computer Science Department of the University of Calgary.
Returning to New Zealand in 1995, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Auckland. The department was then starting a new development in computer systems engineering and he was involved in setting that up. Bruce also started the Robotics Laboratory.
His long term goal is to design intelligent robotic assistants that improve the quality of people's lives, with primary research interests in human robot interaction and robot programming systems, and applications in areas such as healthcare and agriculture. He is the director of the department's robotics group and the leader for the multidisciplinary CARES robotics team at the University of Auckland. He is chairman for NZ's robotics, automation and sensing association. For NZ's national science challenge Science for Technological Innovation, he is the deputy director and the theme leader for Sensors, Robotics and Automation and responsible for Capacity Development activities. He is co-chair for the IEEE technical committee on software engineering for robotics.
Current research programmes including creating robots to help care for older people, which is a multidisciplinary project undertaken jointly with Korean researchers and companies, and a project to create multipurpose orchard robots, a joint project with NZ researchers and companies.