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Unconventional aerial robotic flying machine from the University of British Columbia

A roboticist is a person who designs, builds, programs, and experiments with robots. Since robotics is a highly interdisciplinary field, roboticists often have backgrounds in a number of disciplines including computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, human–computer interaction and interaction design. Roboticists often work for university, industry, and government research labs, but may also work for startup companies and other entrepreneurial firms. Amateur Robotics is also a growing hobby all over the world.

Science, engineering, art, and invention[edit]

Robotics is unusual in combining elements of science, engineering and art. Many roboticists are also deeply involved in the creative arts such as literature, drama, music and film.[citation needed] Some roboticists have a background in the arts and are drawn to robotics as a medium for expression. The acclaimed Czech playwright Karel Capek (1890-1938) made the first use of the word ‘robot’, from the Czech word for forced labor or serf. Later the Three Laws of Robotics were written by Isaac Asimov.

Work in robotics more closely resembles invention rather than pure science or pure engineering. Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. Engineering is the design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. Invention is about creating something new, often at the boundaries of scientific and technological knowledge.

Robotics development[edit]

Prof. Robert Michelson with his autonomous pneumatic animatron used in the International Aerial Robotics Competition

As with all technological projects, the specific processes used in robotics development vary depending on the individuals and institutions involved. However, a key feature of most successful robotics efforts is the use of early prototyping and exploratory development of potential solutions.


In robotics, the interactions between mechanical, electrical, and software systems and the complexities of the real world are highly unpredictable[examples needed]. As a result, the ability to iterate quickly through potential solutions is highly valued by roboticists.[citation needed][citation needed] Often,[examples needed] roboticists discover that the problems they are trying to solve are either much easier than expected, resulting in faster progress, or much harder—requiring that they experiment with many different potential techniques before finding a suitable solution.

While system engineering is a mainstay of the modern aerospace industry, the field of robotics is more similar to the early days of flight when the Wright Brothers built their Flyer and the barnstormers performed aviation feats to introduce the public to the wonders of flight. In robotics development, as in the early days of flight, the common approach is "Let's try it and see if it works."

Robotics careers[edit]

The robotics industry is booming[citation needed] as new applications become practical for consumers, the military, industrial, entertainment industry, medical applications, space, and search and rescue robots. Thanks to high school robotics programs, such as FIRST, the latest generation of students who grew up building robots is entering the workforce. The field of robotics continues to grow, attracting individuals who specialize in a wide variety of robotics and robotics-related fields. The following is a list of a few of those people currently at the top of their field in countries all over the world

Name Country Description
Ernst Dickmanns  Germany Pioneer of driverless cars
Gerd Hirzinger  Germany Former director of the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics of the German Aerospace Center
Peter Nordin  Sweden Pioneer in evolutionary robotics
George Devol  USA Inventor of the patented devices behind Unimation Inc.
Robert Michelson  USA Inventor of the Entomopter and creator of the IARC
Joseph F. Engelberger  USA Founder of Unimation Inc.
Ken Goldberg  USA Professor of engineering and robotics at UC Berkeley
Sven Koenig  USA University of Southern California
Matthew T. Mason  USA Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute
Maja Mataric  USA University of Southern California pioneered using basis behaviors to produce group behaviors on mobile robots
Jeff Trinkle  USA RPI
Red Whittaker  USA Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute
Marc Raibert  USA Inventor of hopping and running machines
Victor Scheinman  USA
Diwakar Vaish  India Developing Manav (robot) and Versatile (robot), researcher in mind controlled robots.
Chico McMurtrie  USA Robotic artist and founder of Amorphic Robot Works
Cynthia Breazeal  USA Director of MIT Media Lab
Shigeo Hirose  Japan Tokyo Institute of Technology
Takeo Kanade  Japan Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute
Masahiro Mori  Japan President of the Mukta Research Institute in Japan
Mark Tilden  UK LANL
Kevin Warwick  UK University of Reading
Kim Jong-Hwan  South Korea KAIST Pioneer in Ubiquitous and Soccer Robotics
Miomir Vukobratović  Serbia Mihaljo Pupin Institute, Belgrad. In 1968, he developed the "Zero Moment Point" method for balancing walking robots
Homayoon Kazerooni  Iran Creator of Human Universal Load Carrier
Rodney Brooks  Australia Founder of iRobot and Rethink Robotics
Jonathan Neels  Belgium Developer/AI specialist - Creator of Eir (Empathic Intelligence Robot) and former employee Zora Robotics/QBMT

Robotic hobbies[edit]

The Robo-One games in Japan and the Robogames in the US have inspired a new growing hobby of kit built or home built and designed robots. Many of the advances in robotics are occurring in people's home garages and workshops like the early days of aviation or computers.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]