Robot magazine Editor-in-Chief Tom Atwood had the privilege of presenting at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Educators Conference on the current status of the robotics industry in the U.S., and the challenges we face to grow these markets, which include growing technologies that form the basis of hobby to industrial robots.
Additional Sources and Links – Education and Robotics
Compiled by the editors of Robot
As noted in the PowerPoint presentation above, the U.S. remains at the top of the ladder with respect to science, innovation and the publishing of quality research papers, yet current trends suggest that we may lose this leadership role in coming years. Moreover, it is expected that there will be a serious shortfall in engineers in the U.S. as the baby boomers retire. Students worldwide are aggressively studying engineering, computer science, physics and mathematics to best meet the challenges of an ever-more-technically complex future.
Many countries have made robotics a national priority, and pursuing technical disciplines is also a key means by which people can pull themselves out of poverty and into prosperity. The global competition for technological leadership is upon us, and every country now has microprocessor technology and embedded systems (see Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374292795/bookstorenow57-20)
The following sources and links shed additional light on the challenges we face as we look to a future in which robotics will play a key role.
A TALK WITH BILL THOMASMEYER
Bill Thomasmeyer, President of the National Center for Defense Robotics (NCDR) and executive vice president of The Technology Collaborative, www.techcollaborative.org, was interviewed by Robot editor-in-chief Tom Atwood on the importance of robotics to our national future. In his August 2007 remarks, Mr. Thomasmeyer addresses the importance of robotics in education as well as the Bipartisan Robotics Caucus—click here for details .
BIPARTISAN ROBOTICS CAUCUS
The recent creation of the National Bipartisan Robotics Caucus by Zack Wamp of Tennessee and Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania is an important initiative that in its first few years is designed to alert Congress to key issues surrounding the growth of robotics industries.
ROBOTICS CONTESTS IN EDUCATION
Robotics competitions have been shown to inspire students to pursue technical careers, and these contests are rapidly expanding in the educational arena. Robots allow students to “wrench” on things and learn applied arts while studying technical disciplines. Moreover, robotics is gender neutral—a huge proportion of involved people are girls and women. The following links are a sampling of some of the most notable robotics competitions:
FIRST TECH CHALLENGE
TRINITY FIRE FIGHTING CONTEST
REVITALIZING THE U.S. EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
The need to revitalize our educational system has been widely recognized. For example, see Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, by the Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century: An Agenda for American Sciences National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, ISBN: 0-309-65463-7, 504 pages (2005). Available as a free download at www.nap.edu/catalog/11463.html
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (NSF) – ASIA’S RISING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STRENGTH
Comparative Indicators for Asia, the European Union, and the United States.
NATIONAL DEFENSE ASSOCIATION – WORKFORCE ISSUES IN U.S. AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE, Edward Swallow, Northrop Grumman, June 2007
NSF – GLOBAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING WORKFORCE COMPARISON
NSF – TRENDS IN ENROLLMENTS AND DEGREES IN U.S. UNIVERSITIES
NSF – U.S. COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREES, ’66 – ’04 (LEVEL AND GENDER)
NSF – AGE DISTRIBUTION AND RETIREMENT PATTERNS OF THE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING LABOR FORCE