Exciting New Options For Robotic Systems Education.
While it is true that robots do replace people when it comes to repetitive tasks such in manufacturing such welding,painting and assemble, it is also true that the robot industry itself is a source of jobs. As robot technology combined with artificial intelligence science open more possibilities for automation the demand for robots of all kinds is growing.
IMobot modular educational training robot
Development of new robotic systems requires engineers and technicians as well as specialist in A.I. and cloud computing. Manufacturing of robots requires workers in a similar way that automotive requires workers. However, ironically robot manufacturing is becoming increasingly automated.
The new jobs then in the area of robots that are the most stable in terms of not being able to be performed by robots ( yet ) is the development and design of new integrated and autonomous robotic systems.
The demand for these knowledge workers is growing quickly and it is driving a requirement for changes in how we prepare people for careers in robotics.
Robots Systems Education
There is also an industry around design and development of robotic training systems and some of them are really cool. It is a really cool time to be a student if you have a interest in science and technology.
The University of California, Davis has signed an exclusive license agreement with Barobo, Inc. of West Sacramento, Calif., to commercialize the modular robot technology called “iMobot” – an Intelligent Modular Robot for applications in research, education, industry, search and rescue, military operation, and law enforcement. The license agreement covers the design of iMobot, giving it unique mobility developed by the Integration Engineering Laboratory at UC Davis.
Commercial robots are usually built for specific applications. Modular robots are different kinds of robots. Similar to Lego, iMobot is designed as a building block. However, unlike Lego, a single iMobot module is a fully functional robot with four controllable degrees of freedom. iMobot can roll, crawl, and creep.iMobot in camera platform mode
David McGee, executive director of UC Davis InnovationAccess, which manages intellectual property and licensing issues on behalf of the university said:
UC Davis is proud of its leadership in engineering inventions such as this modular robot technology. We are very pleased to have partnered with the company founded by two inventors to take this technology to market to provide innovative robotic platform for various applications,
“Although modular robot can move on its own, the greatest advantage of modular systems is their high reconfigurability. Multiple identical modules can be assembled manually or self-assembled to form different configurations for different tasks. The potential of intelligent modular robot is enormous, ” said Harry H. Cheng, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis and Director of the Integration Engineering Laboratory.
Graham Ryland, President of Barobo, Inc commented:
Robots currently on the market are not flexible enough to be used for a wide range of applications, which is where this new modular robot technology makes things possible,” said Graham Ryland, President of Barobo, Inc.
A standardized robot platform for teaching and research has tremendous potential to reduce the time to prototype robotic systems. A great deal of time and energy are spent working on the mechanical and electrical robot infrastructure instead of focusing on cutting edge research.
Ryland and Cheng developed the iMobot technology while Ryland was studying for his master’s degree in mechanical engineering and conducting research in Cheng’s Integration Engineering Laboratory at UC Davis. Cheng and Ryland founded Barobo, Inc. to commercialize the iMobot technology they developed while Ryland was studying for his master’s degree in mechanical engineering and conducting research in Cheng’s Integration Engineering Laboratory. Barobo Inc. recently received a National Science Foundation grant to scale up the iMobot robot platform for use in research and teaching at colleges and universities.
Barobo Inc. is currently selling the iMobot for colleges and universities to use in a classroom/lab environment.
About the Research
About the Integration Engineering Laboratory
The Integration Engineering Laboratory (IEL) at UC Davis was created in 1992 in response to a growing need for cross-disciplinary research and education at the integration system level. The lab conducts multidisciplinary research on robotics and information technology at the integrated system level, with the recent study focused on fundamental issues of adaptive and reconfigurable systems.