Let's Make Robots!

Studying and working in the field of robotics

I'm in high-school now and I'm considering to study robotics and have a career in robotics. I guess it's what I'd like to do the most. What college programs and university programs should I take? What are the different career options in robotics? I think OddBot works for DAGU and I heard him say he loves his job (I never doubted he would, either). So how is your job like, OddBot? Any recommendations?

Great thanks to the whole LMR community

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By college programs do you mean classes? or are you asking for recommendations for different schools? 

Either way, the three main majors people take are mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science (I took mechanical). Recommended classes- programming, mechatronics, kinematics, dynamics, design of machinery, circuits, the list goes on and on and goes in many branches. Personally I focused on kinematics and dynamics with a strong footing in programming early on. I never really got into electronics and it hasn't really ever been a problem yet.

As for jobs, I'm a robotics engineer for the Department of Defense and it has been my dream job so far. I couldn't ask for a cooler job.  

Hmmm... is mechatronics the same mix of mechanics, electronics and programming as the one you find in robotics?

It is very much related to robotics. In fact, I built a robot in the my mechatronics class for a project. Some schools call it electro-mechanical systems. 

Correct if I am wrong.

Specifically, I think it also concider which type of robot you intend to build. Like BigDog you need decent math for massive crazy calculations.

Most important, passion matters.

Yeah I wish I could understand open-loop walking, dynamic balancing, kinetics in general and a ton more...

Yup, passion matters!

I believe it is, the way I understand the word mechatronics, it is a combinational subject, let me add I am going to start studying it formally in about a month and a half. I am looking for my master’s degree so that I too can enter the field of robotics as a profession.

From what I understand so far they teach you basically everything about mechanical, electrical and software engineering but just enough so that you can do the designing and the prototyping to see if the idea is plausible. Then the experts in the different fields take over and refine the original prototype and design to near perfection.

But then again it is very plausible that I am wrong.

I don't know if this sort of job even exists, but can I just sit back, design, prototype, test, program, basically just make a robot someone wants me to make and get paid for it ;). Or am I actually talking about starting an enterprise? I just feel bad about not actually finishing my robots (referring to what you said about handing the undone prototype to specialists), or I've maybe misunterstood you. Anyways, thanks for replying!

Chances are you would be finishing it. If you worked on the prototype it makes sense to make you team lead for the project. You know everything that's going on and can leverage the skills of other people in the team to produce a product that is better than something you could do on your own.

Yes and no. I am studying mechatronics engineering now and that is just one possible path to follow. For a lot of the kids in our class we specialize in the final years and essentially become an electrical, mechanical or computer engineer with a strong background in other fields. The program is demanding and the workload is large simply because we try to study such a broad range of subjects. Really it doesn't matter what engineering program you go into if you want to work on robots but it is easier with a program such as mechatronics.

You do finish the robot, completely, but the specialists in the different fields just refine your current work to a more accurate degree so that the model is more “stable” in all the 3 fields. Like mentioned, you have a lot of knowledge about every aspect of the different fields required to make a robot, but not to such an in depth understanding as an expert in the related field.