Dear reader, please take a moment and picture in your mind the image of a robot.
What does it look like?
What does it do?
I was curious what the word ‘robot’ means for different people, so I asked around. The answers I encountered range from something very probable to wonderful imagination. I’ll share with you the most common answers received. Some people described a robot as either a little mechanical being, with lights, buttons and sounds, very much like a toy. Some thought of a juicer, vacuum or other kitchen robots. Some remembered their dear TV childhood robots like Gundam, Voltron or Jonny 5, and of course R2-D2 and C-3PO were echoed with proud smiles. Many answers also referenced some form of augmented human like Inspector Gadget or Robocop.
In our present day, media continues to have a strong influence in how we portray things in our mind. No surprise that movies and video games greatly influence the expectation of how a robot should be. On the screen, we see robots as being fully functional entities, capable of complex decision making, logic and even empathy.
The media narrative about robots makes the Robotics field itself seem like it’s far in the future, incredibly complicated, intimidating and out of reach for the typical student. For students to be able to meet the challenging demands of tomorrow’s workforce, particularly the high tech workforce, they must be inspired to make the fictional stories real.
Teachers can help students by demystifying the concept of robotics, bringing them into the classroom and showing them that robots exist all around them today well outside of the realm of science-fiction. From humanoid robots like NAO or EZ-Robot’s JD, to basic robots like a Raspberry pi, these tools can illustrate to students how accessible disciplines like computer science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics programming really are.
Access to creative technology empowers students of all talents to pursue passions by offering them a platform to manifest on. Introducing robots in the classroom can generate eagerness and curiosity, but also presents the opportunity for students to learn about the wonderful careers that are waiting for them in the tech field.
About The Author
Robotics Solutions Architect
Alexandra Sugurel specialises in the pragmatic application of robots and AI in solving tangible, real-world problems and building smart IoT enabled technologies.
Before joining the Unity Technologies team as a Robotics Solutions Architect, she spent a decade building market ready applications and innovative prototypes with Softbank Robotics, Boston Dynamics, MIT, and served as an Adjunct Researcher at Curtin University.