Yao was born in Shanghai on Jan 29, 1939. He graduated from Tianjin University and obtained a master's degree.
Yao is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, professor and doctoral supervisor at Tianjin University, and an expert on lasers, optical sensors, and the internet of things. He has taught and cultivated 16 postdoctoral students, 112 doctoral students and 130 master's students.
He has won a myriad of awards and accolades, including the second prize in the national invention awards, second prize in the Science and Technology Progress of National Education Commission and Tianjin (four times), first prize in the military science and technology progress contest, and the special award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Yao has had 730 papers published domestically and abroad, which have been cited hundreds of times by scholars from several countries.
He is a professor, PhD instructor and honorary dean of the School of Precision Instrument and Optoelectronics Engineering of Tianjin University, director of its academic degrees committee, and the head of the Institute of Laser & Optoelectronics.
Yao holds concurrent positions as the president of the Tianjin Information Technology Institute of Smart Internet of Things, chairman of the China Smart City Industry Alliance, deputy director of the National Smart Elderly Care Expert Committee, a member of the Senior Service Informatics Development Committee, honorary chairman of the China Smart City Construction Investment, deputy director of the IoT Expert Committee of Chinese Institute of Electronics, deputy director of the China Smart City Planning and Construction for Promotion Alliance, and deputy director of the Laser Processing Committee Cos.
He also works as the Tianjin Laser Technology Association chairman, director of the Tianjin Optoelectronics Joint Scientific Research Center, chairman of the Tianjin Institute of Intelligent Science and Technology, chairman of the Tianjin Experts Association and chairman of the Tianjin Overseas-educated Scholars Association.