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Questions about Robotics - Universities, Pre-requisites, Opinions, Career, etc.

  1. Jun 15, 2009 #1

    I would like to pursue a career in Robotics. I am aware of the various options in this but have not yet decided which path to follow(i.e. Research, Development, etc). Some of my favorite subjects in school include Maths & IT. I am also quite comfortable with Physics but absolutely cannot stand Chemistry. I will be entering university in a short while and would like to ask your opinions on the following:

    1) For my Bachelors Degree, which course do you recommend? I am looking at Computer Engineering, Computer Science. I would like to tend towards IT as that is where my main interest lies. That is the reason I am not looking at Electrical Engineering(which is apparently included in CE). Also, are there any other relevant courses?

    2) From my research, I have noticed that Robotics is a specialization. Is this true? If so, are there any courses which are compulsory in order to complete my Masters in Robotics? (I am looking at universities in USA).

    3) Lastly looking at jobs, is there a demand for such a qualification? I have a sinking feeling that there is not much scope for this qualification, but I really want someone to prove me wrong.

    I am extremely passionate about a career in Robotics and I am doing everything possible to understand all aspects of it. I thank you for reading this post and eagerly await your replies. Finally, I would appreciate any tips/tricks :smile:
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2009 #2
    A few years ago I had the same interest in robotics and I found a few schools that actually have robotics as a major, but if I were you I would go through the engineering route, and with that in mind it would probably be Electrical Engineering, and then probably in grad school you can become even more specific in what you want to do if you still want to go into robotics. The most useful application for robots that I can think of is with the military if you know what I mean. Having robotic vehicles and things of that nature can be extremely beneficial on the front lines and in the future maybe have some terminators fighting our battles. I know there are more uses for this field but that is the only one that comes to mind right now. Hope that helps a bit.
  4. Jun 29, 2009 #3
    Robotics is an interdesciplinary field, using techniques ranging from electrical to mechanical engineering, as well as math and computer science. It also has many field of applications, such as manufacturing, space exploration, medical, etc. Depends on what you find interesting, you would have to what to specialize.
    CMU seems to have a very good program in robotics, with many experts from different fields. take a look at their website: http://www.ri.cmu.edu/
  5. Jun 30, 2009 #4
    All about Robotics

    Thank you for the link chingkui. I had a look at it and it has given me some excellent information. I am especially interested in space exploration(Mars Exploration Rovers, etc), obviously all from the Robotics/Computer Science side.

    On a side note, after looking at the "Computer Science" article in wikipedia. I have a burning question. After looking at the various graduate courses, I was satisfied to see Robotics listed there. However, the choice of "Computer Vision" confused me as I thought that Computer Vision was a part of Robotics. It seems that I am wrong.

    The reason for my confusion is to me, computer vision should be a fundamental part of Robotics. Is it taught at a higher level when chosen by itself?

    Thx again,
  6. Jun 30, 2009 #5
    No one interested in robotics? What tosh! Just look:

    http://www.jobs.ac.uk/jobs/CK045/16_Erasmus-Mundus_Studentships/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Oct 18, 2009 #6
    I have the same exact question as you, for better chances of ending up in the robotics industry, which is a wiser decision: computer science or computer engineering?
  8. Oct 18, 2009 #7
    If you are really interested in a career in robotics, you may want to pursue mechanical and/or electrical engineering. Specialized degrees in Robotics or Mechatronics are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and if you really want to have a career in this field this is the way to go. However, since this does not seem to be an option, ME or EE is probably better for undergrad. Why do I say this?

    I am not a robotics engineer, but I do spec out and buy industrial robots from other companies. When I need help on a robot, I have a team of a design engineer with a mechanical background and a controls engineer with an electrial background. I do have a coworker whose degree is in mechatronics, but she is a process engineer. The basic tasks for most robots are probably industrial in nature at this point in time. I think space exploration is very cool, but be aware that there are probably more positions supplying robots for manufacturing processes.

    What you would find if you look closely at specialized programs such as the one at Carnegie Mellon linked above is they draw heavily from ME and EE. There are lots of other fun subjects that are studied, such as AI and machine vision, but neither computer science nor computer engineering are the best preparation for robotics. There probably are tricky programming problems to be solved, but the basic problems to be solved involve actually constructing a machhine that has the required number of axes, can reach as far as you need it to, and will do its assigned tasks X thousand times without breaking.

    As for computer or machine vision, it is often taught as applied statistics, because Bayesian inference techniques are very valuable in this field.
  9. Oct 19, 2009 #8
    ^ But surely you're referring to industrial/manufacturing robotics, no? What about service-providing ones which they predict that by 2020, will become prevalent in countries where the demographics are skewing toward old age?

    (such as Korea)
  10. Oct 19, 2009 #9
    I'm not holding my breath.
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