What is Robotics?
Robotics is the field of study with the unique intersection of computer science and engineering; where robots perform tasks to help or replace humans. Whether it’s assembling cars, loading trucks, or venturing into areas that are dangerous to human life, robots have made our lives easier and safer.
You might have seen videos of the robots from Boston Dynamics dancing, traveling through complicated terrain, or pulling a delivery truck. Their dog and human-like robots (as they are often described) are funny to watch but also impressive. While these robots would make eye catching backup dancers, they can also help with search and rescue after a disaster or help individuals with disabilities live independently.
Have you heard about the da Vinci robot that is used for minimally invasive surgeries? Surgeons can now perform complex and delicate operations while minimizing patient discomfort. It is now possible for surgeons to perform life saving surgery from miles away, known as remote surgery, allowing specialists to make that “house call” without having to make the journey.
Do you want to be a part of this growing field and be at the forefront of technology and innovation? How do you even start? Do you learn how to code first or do you learn about engineering? Do you learn about mechanical or electrical engineering? What about physics, material sciences, and design? Where do you start?
How Do You Even Start?
No matter how daunting the challenge, the best way to start a long journey is simply to begin. Luckily there are programs designed for those who have the passion, dedication, and curiosity to dive into the world of robotics. But not every program is the same and some will emphasize starting on coding before engineering, or vice versa.
Are you already familiar with coding? Maybe you can write your own program or create an app on your phone? Then Tufts Pre-College Engineering Design Lab (EDL) may be the best start for you. While learning how to code is a key part of the program (even complete beginners can sign up), the program focuses on teaching students how to approach robotics from a more holistic view.
On top of building a robot during the course, Tufts Pre-College EDL wants students to walk away with a deeper understanding of design. They want their students to learn how to identify problems (“how” and “why”) and appreciate the social and ethical issues that can be a part of robotics. This approach can give students a greater appreciation for the art and responsibility that comes with the field of robotics.
Want to get more of a crash course? The Boston Leadership Institute offers a three-week summer program that will end with students building computer code, assembling a basic robot, and making sure their creations can pass challenges like retrieving objects. Students enjoy the creative process, guidance, and learning how to use the tools for their success.
Both programs are designed for beginners who have an interest in robotics and students will walk away from the programs with a taste for their future career as an innovator in this growing field of industry and creation.
What Else Should I Know for Robotics?
Not feeling ready to take a robotics course (even the beginner ones)? Then considering signing up for iD Coding & AI Academy where you can start as a complete beginner or sharpen your skills as an advanced student. If you feel comfortable with their basic class format, then you can consider checking out their robotics courses that are offered as private lessons. They can be the right fit if you are looking for a more tailored approach that is based on how fast you want to go!
Want to learn more about the artificial intelligence aspect of robotics? Then you will want to check out NYU Tandon Machine Learning Summer Program. This course will throw you in the deep end of coding, data, math, and logic that drives technology like face recognition, voice controls, self-driving cars, and so much more.
Unlike the other programs mentioned in this article, NYU’s program requires students to have completed Algebra 2 and have experience in programming. They also require a minimum GPA of 3.0 and international students must be prepared to submit proof of English language proficiency.
Can Anyone Get Into Robotics?
Short answer? Yes. There are many ways for future innovators to break into the world of robotics. Whether you are a complete beginner and need to learn about the basics of coding (iD Coding & AI Academy), want to get right into building robots (Tufts and Boston Leadership Institute), or want to take your understanding of machine learning to the next level (NYU Tandon), there are many ways for you to take the first steps into the field of robotics.