Author Topic: Studying Robotics in College  (Read 19417 times)

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Offline skatjTopic starter

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Studying Robotics in College
« on: January 27, 2008, 01:21:33 AM »
I'm very interested in robotics and have been since middle school. I am applying to colleges next year and I am 90% sure this is something I want to do for many years to come. I have a question though, which schools are good for undergrad robotics? I understand robotics isn't an undergrad major, but there are other aspects of a school that can contribute to a healthy robot community, such as clubs, programs, or maybe even side classes you can take that specialize in robotics. Obviously Carnegie Mellon, but my stats are a tad bit shy of that, though it would be my dream to get into Carnegie Mellon. MIT and Caltech = no chance in hell.

So are there any other "hidden gem" engineering schools that have a good emphasis on robotics (especially ones with active clubs). I would prefer some on the west coast, so far I've looked at Cal Poly SLO, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and U Michigan. Any other suggestions?


Also, after undergrad I am a little unclear as to how grad school works. Would robotics be a grad school major? Or is it more of a mechanical engineering degree with emphasis on robotics?

And after grad school, what is the job market for robotics? Do most people go into research (is that a decent salary), or are there a lot of companies that hire robotic engineers?

Thanks  ;D

Offline Darkbluestar

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Re: Studying Robotics in College
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2008, 04:42:55 AM »
Just thought I would put some input since I go to one of the schools you mentioned. I go to Cal Poly SLO and so far it has been pretty fun. I recently joined the robotics club here and there is a fairly decent amount of people in it. Here is a link to their site if you're curious http://robotics.ee.calpoly.edu/dokuwiki/doku.php There are a few professors that are involved in robotics and they teach some awesome classes. Let me know if you want to know anything else and I'll be happy to answer your questions. 

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Re: Studying Robotics in College
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2008, 09:29:47 AM »
Quote
Would robotics be a grad school major?
yea

Some schools offer undergrad minors in robotics, like CMU.

When looking around, actually count the number of robotics classes that a school has. Many of the schools claim to have robotics but they really only have 10 or less actually classes.

CMU has like 50+ robotics classes, all of them undergrads are allowed to take.

(there are two other posts in the forum, if you search, asking a similar question)

Offline skatjTopic starter

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Re: Studying Robotics in College
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2008, 11:40:11 AM »
Thanks Darkbluestar that's exactly what I was looking for. That sounds like a really cool club, maybe you'll see me there in a couple of years.  ;D

Offline bietz

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Re: Studying Robotics in College
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2008, 12:44:24 PM »
If you can, CMU also has a pre-college summer program, and they have a robot class in the AP/EA program called "Robots to the Rescue: A gentle introduction to mobile robotics"

I went there last summer (it's 6 weeks long), and it was a lot of fun! I took this robotics class and the Electrical and Computer Engineering class. I learned a lot of stuff!

In the robotics class, you will have a 'task' every week that you'll have to accomplish in teams of 4. There's one robot per team, called MAX (http://www.senseta.com/max5r.html), which is quite powerful, with an on-board PC, and it's made by NASA I think. We used Microsoft Robotics Studio to program the robot, in C#.NET (MSRS is kindof a pain at first). If you're not a programming expert, they'll teach you what you will need, but some C/C++/C# or Java knowledge might come in handy (you would have time until this summer!). MSRS has also a simulator, so you can program on your laptop and run your programs in a Visual Simulation Environment.

It's a 'learning by doing' course, so you will have labs every day! The labs are usually about 3 hours long, but it might be longer or shorter (especially for me and my team, since we did lots of additional projects, such as controlling the MAX with a wiimote or with speech recognition, and even by chatting through msn messenger!)

For more info about the pre-college program, go here
I can give you a link to the robotics course website (with more info on all the tasks, and the video lectures by Dr. Raj Reddy), but it's password protected... I'll write them here, but if anybody thinks I shouldn't, I'll remove it.
http://westie.isri.cmu.edu:8080/wiki/index.php/RttR
user: msituser
pswd: msitusage

If you can go there next summer (yes it's expensive...), I strongly recommend it. You'll see CMU, and you can go around the robotics labs which are awesome! (unfortunately, only a few were open...) And write a good recommendation letter, in which you show how much you're interested in Robotics and AI!

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Re: Studying Robotics in College
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2008, 01:11:11 PM »
Oh since you like robotics clubs . . .

The CMU robotics club is the oldest university robotics club in the world:
http://www.roboticsclub.org/

This is where I learned all my stuff at. They currently claim to have 160 paying members, but I would say only 40 of them are very active.

Visit the lab here:
http://www.roboticsclub.org/Main/Webcam

In the back on the shelves are tons of public use robotics components, on your right is a half dozen public use computers, in the center is a scara robot arm, on the left is project table space. In the back left (out of view) are couches, and on the back right (out of view) is the public fridge - always stocked with for-cost food. At the top left is a door to the machine shop, complete with CNC, mill, dress presses, and tons of other tools you would need.

Did I mention the sponsors?
http://www.roboticsclub.org/Main/Sponsors

Oh and the best part . . . a large pic of me is on the right of the front door! hehe . . . :P

(hoping to get a few new recruits)

ps - MIT doesn't even have a robotics club - gasp!

Offline bietz

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Re: Studying Robotics in College
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2008, 01:14:47 PM »
Oh yeah, I was kind of disappointed when I saw the robotics club closed in the summer... It would have been so cool if we could have gone there...
Maybe next year they'll open it

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Re: Studying Robotics in College
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2008, 01:22:11 PM »
They are open whenever an officer is around. Fewer officers are around during the summer . . . When I was a student it was always open (because I was an officer that always made robots there).

If you go, summer or not, just send an email to the officers to arrange to be showed around. They will be happy to do it.

Offline bietz

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Re: Studying Robotics in College
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2008, 02:31:21 PM »
When I was a student it was always open (because I was an officer that always made robots there).
wow you always do the best things!
Actually the site is becoming a sort of robotics club, especially for the community, but except for the robotics components...
I created a robotics club in my High School this year (in France, and it's probably the only one :p), but it's hard to find the right stuff to buy, and to get money from the school... (since education is free, schools don't have that much money...) I'll ask questions on another thread sooner or later on what you recommend buying.

 


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