Want the career of the future? Become a robotics engineer! Robotics engineering is an exciting field with almost unlimited possibilities. As we head towards 2020, many technological advances that used to be science fiction are now becoming part of our daily lives. And while some sci-fi is still just fantasy, such as faster-than-light space travel, robots are definitely becoming a sci-fi reality.
What Do Engineers Do in Modern Robotics?
The field of robotics “deals with the design, construction, operation, and use of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing,” according to Wikipedia. Robots, of course, are machines that can perform complex tasks and replicate many human actions.
While some fear that the development of robots will reduce jobs for human beings, robotic engineers will be well-positioned for work for the foreseeable future. These engineers will be designing, programming, and directing the robots of tomorrow.
Some robotics engineers work more on the computer programming side. This includes developing artificial intelligence algorithms and machine learning programs to help computers and robots learn on their own.
Other aspects of robotic engineering include developing the materials used to construct robots, including realistic robot “skin” for human-like mechanoids.
5 Amazing Possibilities in Robotic Engineering
The field of robotics is of course evolving and changing quickly. Here are just a few of the trends in robotics:
1. Social Robots, Complete With “Emotions”
Loneliness is becoming increasingly common in the modern world. The problem is that loneliness can contribute to health problems, such as cardiovascular disease. Already, with artificial intelligence, we have computer avatars that talk to us through our cellphones and devices like Amazon’s Alexa. Future robot companions will be complete life-like androids with the ability to read and respond to human emotions.
2. DIY Robotics for Home-Grown Robot Fun
A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) robot? Why not? With 3D printers, home robotics enthusiasts can now build their own robots and parts. For example, the EduExo DIY Kit funded through Kickstarter provides parts and/or instructions on how to create an exoskeleton for the elbow. Enthusiasts with a 3D printer can basically build the exoskeleton from scratch using EduExo’s schematics.
“In the end, you will have a good understanding about exoskeleton technology and its application,”writes the project’s founders. “Together with hands-on experience building and programming your own robotic exoskeleton,”
3. Medical Robots to Help Diagnose and Heal
Medical robots not only help with surgeries, they also do other amazing things. For example, tiny robots can help remove plaque from arteries. Robots can help keep home-bound patients connected with doctors. They will also be used more and more for diagnostics and testing.
4. Self-Driving Trucks and Other Industrial Robots
Self-driving trucks may not seem like a big deal, as we are very close to having self-driving cars dominate the roads. However, self-driving trucks used for construction and other types of manufacturing need to do more than just drive and follow the road. Fully automated trucks that can handle loading and unloading. In addition to transportation, will become more and more utilized in the future.
Supply chain logistics, manufacturing, and all aspects of industrial production will undergo a transformation through the integration of robots and related technology in the next 10-20 years.
Of course, robots have been in use on assembly lines for decades, often to perform repetitive tasks that require little in the way of advanced movement skills. But the factory robots of the future will be more than just mechanical arms, as robots evolve to handle more complex movements and work that may involve decisions.
5. Military Robots for Land, Sea, and Air
Some of the most fascinating, if creepy, applications of robotic technology are for military use, such as four-legged robots designed to traverse rough terrain quickly. These animal-like robots can look like something out of a sci-fi horror film, but many practical military robotic applications won’t look so sinister. In fact, most people might not be able to tell the difference between a robot and a standard piece of military technology.
Some of the more “mundane” technologies now in high demand for the military are robot-driven submarines and airships. For example, “[D]efense contractors are designing unmanned ships that operate at a fraction of the cost, operate in more dangerous conditions and never need to bring sailors home,” writes Adam Button at ForexLive.
Robotics Engineering Is the Future
Whatever the future holds, it is sure to include robots in some form or another. Whether for personal help and support, business, healthcare, or the military, robots are already transforming the way humans accomplish things. Robotics engineers are constantly innovating and creating new and better robots. The robot revolution has the potential to transform life as we know it, perhaps even more so than the Internet.