Lawrence Tech Innovation Spring 2012 : Page 3

The new degree program is designed to address the shortage of quali fi ed robotics engineers both in Michigan and through-out the country. Manufacturers seek specialists in the fi eld who will require a minimum amount of on-the-job training. Lawrence Tech’s BSRE provides under-graduates with crucial knowledge that cannot be obtained by studying mechani-cal, electrical, or computer engineering as individual disciplines. Robotics has grown into a primary engineering fi eld in its own right, accord-ing to Assistant Professor Giscard Kfoury, director of the new degree program. “This interdisciplinary degree provides gradu-ates with the tools they will need to hit the ground running,” he said. Robotics engineering is an evolving discipline that goes beyond designing and building remote-controlled machines and tethered robot arms. In order to meet the greater demands of 21st-century produc-tion, robotics engineers are called on to design new robots, develop new applica-tions for robots, and conduct research to expand the functionality of new applica-tions. Of course, robotics engineers are also responsible for ongoing maintenance of robots so that tight production sched-ules can be met. Greater demands have been placed on the emerging fi eld. Robotics engineers have to be well-versed in the world of systems engineering and must possess the versatility to design and build a “hu-man-like” system, consisting of control algorithms that represent the brain of the product, sensing and actuating schemes that simulate the nerves and muscles, and ‘ Robotics engineering is an evolving discipline that goes beyond designing and building remote-controlled machines and tethered robot arms. a mechanical system that makes up the skeleton of the design. Lawrence Tech also offers a master’s degree in mechatronic systems, and both master’s and doctorate degrees in engineering systems. Undergraduate stu-dents in robotics bene fi t from the educa-tion infrastructure that has been built in those areas. The theoretical and practical knowledge gained in the BSRE program will equip the graduates to perform well in both of those fi elds. Lawrence Tech faculty bring a wealth of experience in industry back to the classroom. They understand the complex-ity of this rapidly developing fi eld and are dedicated to helping students build the foundation they will need to either enter the manufacturing sector after graduation or move on to graduate studies. A new robotics lab dedicated to the support of the BSRE program has been established under the direction of Jim Kerns, a 36-year veteran of Ford Motor Co. (see page 28). The lab includes state-of-the-art measurement and data acquisition systems, along with vari-ous robotic kits and electromechanical components. In the near future it will be equipped to support research in robotics. Lawrence Tech also remains unique in Michigan and rare nationally by sup-plying all undergraduates with a laptop or tablet computer loaded with all the spe-cialized software programs they need for all their courses leading to a bachelor’s degree. For undergraduates in robotics en-gineering that includes CATIA and other software programs used in the industry. ® The BIOLOID King Spider is cool enough to attract middle school and high school students to robotics programming and yet complex enough to challenge the programming abilities of college students. Lawrence T ech Innovation ’ 3

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