Blackwell studied engineering at Carleton University and received a Bachelor of Engineering in 1992, then studied Computer Science at Harvard University and received a Doctor of Philosophy in 1998.
Blackwell is a developer of humanoid robots. He is also the inventor of the Eunicycle, essentially a one-wheeled Segway. His dissertation applied randomized methods to analyzing the performance of networks and compilers.
During graduate school Blackwell joined Viaweb for which he wrote the image rendering, order processing and statistics software.
The company was acquired by Yahoo in 1998, and Blackwell moved to Silicon Valley to lead the Yahoo Store development group. He founded Anybots in 2001 to build teleoperated humanoid robots.
In 2006, Anybots announced a humanoid robot that walks and balances like people do, without depending on large feet for stability. As side projects, he has built two other balancing vehicles: a two-wheeled balancing scooter similar to the Segway but with different steering, and the self-balancing Eunicycle.
Several hobbyists have built vehicles based on the open design of the machine.