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Knowledge in Robotics — Parallax Forums

Knowledge in Robotics

mrsmilemrsmile Posts: 6
edited 2010-02-26 03:46 in Robotics
How many of the forumers here actually has knowledge in robotics, meaning they studied engineering in college/university that helps in their robotic work?
And what is the best kind of robots that you are able to build for those who did not attend college/university?


  • ScopeScope Posts: 417
    edited 2010-02-13 15:07
    I'm not sure how to answer your question - I'm certainly no forerunner.

    I only began learning about robotics three years ago. I started w/the Lego NXT's and I thought that was a good introduction. Some people have accomplished some fairly complex projects using the NXT components.

    Since last summer, I began using Parallax stuff. I feel like I could have started with these tools - starting first w/NXT's wasn't necessary to be successful w/the "What's a Microcontroller (WAM), or the Boe-Bot kit.

    Using the Parallax tools, I feel like I'm able to conquer any project rather than trying to take a "cookie cutter" approach to solving. Because of what I've already learned via the Parallax curriculum, I'm not restricted - I know what sensors are available, I understand programming so much better, and my output device list is seemingly unlimited (such as motor selection, & fo forth).

    By learning the basics of robotics using the Parallax tools, I'm exposed to and capable of understanding robotic concepts that were unavailable with the other system. Although I'm certainly no robotic expert, I do feel as though I could now figure out how to solve a robotic problem, regardless what would be involved. I don't think I would have ever obtained this valuable perspective by only using the NXT's. Yes, there are several paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on.

    And it makes me wonder.

    Hope this is helpful.
  • CannibalRoboticsCannibalRobotics Posts: 535
    edited 2010-02-13 16:57
    When I was in college, there really was no robotics curriculum. I just sort of fell into it, I loved interfacing the real world to computers and I like to make stuff.
    But your not the only one wondering about this. Most universities are still fighting over who is "robotics". Prime candidates seem to be math, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science. Although, many application oriented programs like medicine, process engineering and aerospace have robotics departments. In my view, it's like the old "systems engineering" degree - you have to be knowledgeable in many areas but not necessarily an expert in any. Especially with the plethora of off the shelf stuff you can get now for robotics.
    SO, I guess it depends on where you want to go with it. If you just want to build, then Scope is right - start building. If you really want to push the science then an advanced degree in the realm where you want to push would be good to have i.e. medicine, aerospace, military science, process.

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  • SRLMSRLM Posts: 5,045
    edited 2010-02-14 02:50
    Studying CS can help...

    Powered by enthusiasm
  • HumanoidoHumanoido Posts: 5,770
    edited 2010-02-14 08:55
    Prior to an engineering degree, I made many successful robots
    working as a hobbyist. This knowledge led to a career in robotics
    which was helped along with a degree in mathematics,
    engineering and computer programming. Some robotics coding
    used CNC, BASIC, VB, C+ and numerous other highly specific
    languages. I think you can make many different types of robotics
    depending on your interest, without a degree. It depends on your
    willingness to be a self learner and your passion/heart for robots.

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  • WhitWhit Posts: 4,183
    edited 2010-02-15 16:01

    I was an architect for many years, but now I·am a priest and hobby roboticist.

    I often find myself praying that something works - or a least, being a priest, it·limits my cursing if something fails! smilewinkgrin.gif
    The short answer is that NO, you do not need formal training to have lots of fun with robotics. This is true now more than ever. Of course, if you want formal training - go for it! Then you can teach us all some new tricks.

    There is no substitute for enthusiasm! Take a look at this!


    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney

    Post Edited (Whit) : 2/15/2010 4:08:39 PM GMT
  • Rob7Rob7 Posts: 275
    edited 2010-02-15 17:28
    Welcome to the forum!
    I don't know how many schools or university's that have programs for robotics.
    I worked with robotics for about 15 years, maintenance, software upgrades and hardware upgrades for robots that transfer and transport silicon wafers to and from various machines for processing.
    It was in semiconductor manufacturing.
    I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, no schooling in robotics at that time.
    Electronics and biology college grad.
    However most of the robot systems used ran off of various software.
    We called it "70's Tec".
    Dos based was the most used.
    Some tools used Assembly
    The newer systems now run off windows with a computer hooked to a control box with some EEPROMS or relay control boards for I/O.
    Not to high tec.
    There are a lot of high tec robot's out there and they are very expensive, mostly used in hospitals, research labs and various semiconductor companies.
    As for learning robotics, Parallax you will find to be one of the best outlets in the country for learning, documentation and kits.
    Documentation is the key for learning if your just starting out with no electronics background.
    Don't get me wrong you will be able to find lot's of vendors out there with kits to sell you, however when you get stuck and don't know where to turn to the project just dies.
    Support for your robot building is one of your best resources for help and advise.
    Robot's are addicting lot's of fun and let's face it. They are not cheap !
  • Peter KG6LSEPeter KG6LSE Posts: 1,383
    edited 2010-02-15 18:03
    I am·· currently···· In· College(again)··· for··· Robotics/Automation·· @ IHCC·

    So I· have· some··· basic (bad pun)· knolage·· in·· Sekio D-tran· and·· tad·· in FANUC systems

    I·· mostly···· am··· focusing·· on·· PLCs· and··· Power·· control .
    ·I· do however··· gave a··good· backround in·· VEX···· Robotics··· systems· .

    Peter· KG6LSE

    "Carpe Ducktum" "seize the tape!!"
    Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. —Tanenbaum, Andrew S.

    Post Edited (Peter KG6LSE) : 2/15/2010 6:25:58 PM GMT
  • Jessica UelmenJessica Uelmen Posts: 490
    edited 2010-02-16 18:14
    Hi Mr. Smile,

    Well certainly many people have weighed in on this topic, and this is always an ongoing topic. And I'm glad that everyone speaks so highly of us - shucks! [noparse]:)[/noparse]

    For me, nothing beats a solid educational background, but of course that's because I was a straight-A teacher's pet all through school and I loved every minute of it. Even now I want to go back for my master's just because I miss the classroom. But I digress.

    Really, it's all up to you - what do you want to do? An engineering degree will give you the basics, and (IMHO) will give an excellent foundation to build off of. But, if you want to specialize in robotics, you'll probably have to join a club (which is a great thing to so anyway), or do some learning on your own because since robotics is really a mix of ME, EE, and CS not many colleges have a "robotics" curriculum. Of course if you want to do some robotics design work in the future professionally, it'll be a lot easier to get your foot in the door with an accredited engineering degree. But if you want to build robots for fun - why not teach yourself? You'll save money, and with all of the Open Source Universities that post online lectures for the world to view, the possibilities are endless!

    Just look at me, I started college as a starry-eyed Musical Theatre major and ended up as an engineer here at Parallax. If you've got drive and ambition, the world is your oyster and you can accomplish anything! (That seems like it should be a motivational poster somewhere.)

    Best of luck!

    -- Jess

    Jessica Uelmen
    Education Department
    Parallax Inc.
  • BeanBean Posts: 8,122
    edited 2010-02-16 18:30
    Mr. Smile,
    · I have no formal training in programming or electronics. I am completely self-taught.
    · I have nothing against college, I'm just not much of a "labels" man.

    · I was hired at my current job because I worked for an I.T. company that serviced them. But then they found out that I know electronics and programming...
    · Now I'm "stuck" doing all three...AND LOVING IT!!!

    · If one of the other engineers start talking about something I don't know...I tell them straight out, "I don't know anything about that.". But guess what I'm doing the next day....Learning as much about it as possible. Often I will go back and ask them questions about the subject. They are usually very surprised that I took the time to learn about it on my own.


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Use BASIC on the Propeller with the speed of assembly language.

    PropBASIC thread

    March 2010 Nuts and Volts article·

    Post Edited (Bean) : 2/16/2010 6:35:59 PM GMT
  • Rob7Rob7 Posts: 275
    edited 2010-02-17 17:16
    That's great !
    It is strange how people end up where they are and loving it.
    I started out as a Entomology/ Biology student in college.
    After working in the Electronics-Industrial Robotics field for 23 years, I am now studying Molecular biology and Bio-Engineering at U.C.S.D. and loving it !

    Post Edited (Rob7) : 2/17/2010 5:24:00 PM GMT
  • ManetherenManetheren Posts: 117
    edited 2010-02-23 16:36
    The biggest thing that the schools have for a roitics program now is industrial control that they are starting to teach. I went to ITT and the closest I could come to a degree for robotics is Electronics and Telecommunications engineering and the first two years were all computer and electronics engineering. The first two years helped me more than the second two as the second two were all communications theory for the most part.

    Tia'Shar Manetheren
  • TheGregsterTheGregster Posts: 3
    edited 2010-02-26 03:46
    I have been a software engineer for 2+ decades. Most recently, I have been lucky enough to be paid to provide software on s few robot projects. The biggest was being on a DARPA Urban Challenge team; we built a car that can drive itself thru a city. We made the semi-finals in the military competition, but our bot made some very odd decisions when driving thru a residential section wink.gif

    What is suprising to me is that all the same challenges we faced on that big military project also come up if you are just building a small autonomous floor robot (smooth motor control, pose, long term course planning, obstacle detection, reactive planning around obstacles, ...). Seems to me the best way to learn the field is to build some machines yourself.

    Top schools continue to be Carnegie Melon U and Stanford. The roboticists you read about in the press most (Sebastian Thrun & "Red" Whittaker) are Computer Scientists who have taken a very heavily mathematical/statistical approach to the field.
  • helencurtis2020helencurtis2020 Posts: 1
    edited 2020-04-09 13:57
    The biggest thing that the schools have for a roitics program now is industrial control that they are starting to teach. I went to ITT and the closest I could come to a degree for robotics is Electronics and Telecommunications pay for research paper engineering and the first two years were all computer and electronics engineering. The first two years helped me more than the second two as the second two were all communications theory for the most part.

    I know what you mean. I have so much communications theory I didn't need I started to doubt whether I choose the right major. I wonder why they put these theory classes during the senior years...
  • Thread is 10 years old :lol:
  • ercoerco Posts: 20,013
    Mickster wrote: »
    Thread is 10 years old :lol:

    Robotics is truly timeless... :)
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