Robotics Careers (4:26)
“I think that everyone should consider a career in robotics, because it’s a highly collaborative endeavor. Where you need people with lots of different expertise. There are so many subdisciplines within robotics, including perception. For example, being able to use a camera or a sensor that generates point clouds. Understand what a robot is seeing. Another subdiscipline is planning. Now that the robot has figured out what’s in the environment and what does it do about it, you can program algorithms that help the robot make decisions.”
Role models in order of appearance: Tiffany Chen, Mia Stevens, Kimberly Xie, Steffi Paepcke, Jie Li, Katie Skinner, Randi Williams, Amanda Dayton, and Taylor Putnam.
1) One role model told us that everyone should consider a career in robotics because it is highly collaborative and involves people with lots of different expertise. What does it mean if a career is highly collaborative? Are you interested in collaborative careers? Why or why not?
2) Listeners learned that robots help build items like airplanes and undertake dangerous missions like going deep underwater or into outer space. Why do humans use robots for these types of tasks? In what ways are robots better at performing these tasks than humans would be?
3) In the video, one of the role models explained that her work with self-driving cars and robots would help to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be mobile. How might self-driving cars and robots help people become mobile? Why is this important?
4) Some robots build things like airplanes and cars. Other robots, like Jibo, have jobs to be social or talk with humans. What interaction have you had with robots? Have you ever used anything built by robots? Explain your answer.
5) One role model predicted that, in the future, robots would help make some tasks easier for humans, such as cooking. What other tasks do you think robots might make easier in the future? What types of tasks would robots probably not be very good at? Why?
6) One role model told us that, “Humans are always going to be the ones who help the robot do the best job that it can do. It takes a lot of different humans who are empathetic and who are aware of what the robot can do and what the people need… [to] make sure that it’s a good fit.” Why might it take a lot of different people to help a robot do the best job it can? What might happen if too few people were involved? Why is it important to think about whether or not it’s a “good fit”?
I think that everyone should consider a career in robotics, because it’s a highly collaborative endeavor. Where you need people with lots of different expertise. There are so many subdisciplines within robotics, including perception. For example, being able to use a camera or a sensor that generates point clouds. Understand what a robot is seeing. Another subdiscipline is planning. Now that the robot has figured out what’s in the environment and what does it do about it, you can program algorithms that help the robot make decisions.
There’s also, of course, the area of kind of mechanical engineering. How do we physically make the robot? How do we select the actuators or motors that we would use to make the robot move?
I work on geofencing, which is a safety system for drones. So it’s in my own research. The robotics side of it is the drone itself, and the physical system, and how it’s interacting with the world. And then the artificial intelligence aspect is combining the algorithms and using the sensors on the vehicle to understand what’s going on in the world around it, and then make decisions on how to safely interact with that world.
The main focus that we’re trying to do is get cutting edge technology out. The self-driving car aspect is to ensure that everyone can be mobile. So our robots are focused on making people mobile inside their homes or inside buildings.
I think robotics will help older adults and an aging population by empowering people to live the life that they want to live with the assistance that they need, by making some tasks easier, such as cooking or whatever it is someone might want help with.
If I were to gander I guess, I would say when I am an older adult, we’ll start to see robots being able to independently do these tasks, but we’ll be seeing a lot more cobots or robot that performs a task together with a human.
There is also people working on robot emotional development, who’s trying to help the robots interact with people more naturally, especially people who have emotional problems.
What my research focuses on is underwater robotics, but I’ve also been able to work on autonomous or self-driving cars. There are also robots in medicine through surgical robots.
So within robotics, there are many different places that you can go, for example, in space. A lot of times you can’t do a manned mission because it’s too expensive or too long. And so robots are having a huge impact in that field because they can go further. They can start to do things that are repetitive. Things that most humans might not find enjoyment in doing over and over again, but also things that are dangerous.
The offshore industry first started using ROVs or remote-operated vehicles to do underwater surveys where divers could not get to. So using robots and move divers, the robots are safer, and it saves the industry millions of dollars.
We build the 777 fuselage. The fuselage is the circular tube, middle part of an airplane. So the factory for the 777 is a lot of giant orange robots that move around with swinging arms. And they put together these bright green panels that make up an airplane.
There are so many different ways to contribute to the field, and it’s really just a matter of finding your niche.
Because it’s never the case that a robot will come in and that’s it. We’ve solved all the problems. Humans are always going to be the ones who help the robot do the best job that it can do. And it takes a lot of different humans who are empathetic, who are aware of what the robot can do, what the people need, and making sure that it’s a good fit.
One of the greatest things that I get to do in my work is spend time with a lot of social robots. One of my favorite robots is JIBO. Hey, JIBO. Who made you?
My story is pretty typical. Some people wanted to create something that would really help people, so they built a robot.
Hey, JIBO. Can you tell me a joke? I love jokes. I once read a book about antigravity, I couldn’t put it down, also I couldn’t pick it up.
Hey, JIBO. What do you like to do for fun? I like to dance. [music]
Independent Learning Guide: This all-purpose guide can be used by educators, parents, and mentors to jumpstart a lively discussion about the field of robotics.
AI, Machine Learning and Robotics is an important and growing field. Challenge yourself to learn just one of these AI, Machine Learning and Robotics terms each day.
Classroom Lesson Plan: This step-by-step lesson plan is available to guide a more in-depth “before, during, and after” learning experience when viewing the video with students. This lesson plan is also suitable for use in after-school programs and other educational settings.
Use Empowerment Activities as a fun way to reinforce the video topic and build community with your students.
Related Empowerment Activities:
Fun Page Activity: This fun page activity lets you practice programming a robot. Think about how robots move and complete tasks while telling your robot to fetch a banana!