Direct current (DC) motors appeal to mechanical engineers and electrical engineers because of the design properties involved in manufacturing and applying these motors in real world problems. After a few years of enjoying DC motors some people with a technical “bent” begin to feel a draw toward robotics. Robotics appeals to mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and computer programmers. Each of these career options are involved in the design and manufacturing of a robot that can do a specific task. Some robots can do more than one task which might require a degree in robotics engineering. Robotics engineering is an up-and-coming degree that has a real future. Currently, there are seven leading schools that have robotics engineering degrees. These universities appear to be on the cutting edge and offer bachelors, masters, or PhD degrees. There are about 25 other schools in the U.S. that offer robotics education that are competing for some analytical and imaginative students as well.
- Carnegie-Mellon University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- University of Georgia
- University of Southern California
- Columbia University
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Of course, interest in robotics drives demand. And interest comes from students and parents that have looked at jobs as Robotics Engineers. Here are a few facts:
- Employment growth is expected to be 7-13 percent through 2018
- It is projected that over 50,000 jobs are to be available from 2008 to 2018
- Robotics will become the next computer industry
- Robots will begin to replace processes such as manufacturing, security, and even household chores
- The annual median wage is $90,300 for a Robotics Engineer
Sources: Bls.gov and Sokanu.com
Finally, a typical day for a Robotics Engineer would include:
- Performing research of robotic systems
- Designing, building, configuring, and testing robots
- Designing software programs and systems
- Reviewing cost estimates and return on investment
- Designing automated robots and automated robotic systems
If these topics interest you while in middle school or high school it would be good if you were able to get involved in a robotics club of some sort. One of the most popular today is VEX robotics which each year comes out with different competitions that are played on a 12 foot by 12 foot field for VEX middle school or high school challenges.
Each competition includes an alliance of some sort to encourage teamwork, sensors, programming, and an autonomous mode. The competitions are held at various schools and eventually VEX holds a Vex Worlds Tournament. Last year it was held in Louisville, KY and prior to that it was held in Anaheim, CA. Some students (and parents) make a vacation out of competition and since it is a world tournament meet new friends. Indeed, the world is “flat” these days.
Here’s the video posted by VEX for its Worlds Tournament. Enjoy!
Quote for the Day: “There are two types of people – anchors and motors. You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors because the motors are going somewhere and they’re having fun. The anchors will just drag you down.” — Wyland, marine artist
The Electrical Engineering Community (EEWeb.com) somehow found this website and requested to feature Motors Are Fun on its site! What an honor it is to be highlighted by such a successful and auspicious site as EEWeb.
The EEWeb site has several features that could become your stopping point on the way to engineering or science projects. The first page pretty much has all of the topic areas covered: Product news and highlights, the Electronics Forum, Articles and Projects, a section for Featured Engineer, Application Design notes, the Site of the Day, and if you’re interested, a section on Job Listings.
Based on your knowledge of components, the site is a great resource for analog design, RF design, power, connectors, digital integrated circuits (ICs), and more. Each section has design news, design articles, application notes, and questions by members. I enjoyed the Companies link where EEWeb has about 29 Who’s Who of major electronics manufacturers and distributors – this is a great resource to get parts for the motors shown on Motors Are Fun website.
One of the highlights about EEWeb is at the top of the page to the right in the topic called Toolbox. Here you will find Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Tools, Passive Tools, RF Tools, Calculators, and Math help for Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Derivatives, and Integrals. Once again, EEWeb has brought together important concepts all in one spot.
I’m grateful to Algen Dela Cruz, an electrical engineer at EEWeb, who contacted me and has been active in keeping the process going. This will be a site I’ll seek out when looking for ideas and components for future DC motors. And I recommend that you would consider doing the same.
Quote of the Day: “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw