Roboticist | How to become one and 5+ Important Skills

Roboticist | How to become one and 5+ Important Skills

Roboticist

The Subject of discussion: Who is a Roboticist and how can you be one?

  • Definition of Roboticist
  • How can you become a Roboticist?
  • 5 Major Fields that Roboticists are working on
  • Latest technologies in Robotics

Definition of Roboticist

The etymology of the term Roboticist can be derived from one of its earliest citations in Issac Asimov’s Evidence in 1946. The word Roboticist refers to a scientist or an engineer who either studies robots or works with them towards their applications in various fields of science and technology. In other words, a roboticist is any person who conceptualizes, plans, creates, and programs robots for multiple experiments.

Roboticist | How to become one and 5+ Important Skills
Isaac Asimov; Image Source: Britannica

How can you become a Roboticist?

It is commonly heard these days that the area of robotics is on the verge of exploding. Development in this field has been notable in recent years. Mailing lists for robotics are becoming busier and busier, Ph.D. candidates in robotics are popping up everywhere, money is streaming for advanced research, and exits are becoming more and more popular. Yet, it isn’t straightforward to find good roboticists out there with all of this in mind.

To stand apart in any field, one must have specific supporting skills while being both practical and investigative. The same goes for one to be an effectively specialized or a generalized roboticist. Some specific job skills are essential for robotics engineers and are frequently searched for by managers who employ them. A group of 10 such necessary roboticist skills is discussed below:

Systems Thinking

A lot of people with degrees in robotics turn out to be project managers or developers with systems. It makes a lot of sense because robots are very dynamic devices, and in a diverse range of disciplines, dealing with them involves expertise. Physics, computing, electrics, programming, sensing, and psychology, and cognition are fields that require working with finesse.

A strong roboticist can comprehend how all these numerous devices operate together and are familiar with the philosophy behind them all. This is what makes them effective administrators of projects and developers of structures. A roboticist must also be well versed in all the numerous specialisms, and that’s why Systems Evaluation is a necessary key.

Programming Mindset

Another necessary ability for robotics is programming. Whether one is interested in low-level control systems, such as using MATLAB to design controls, or a computer scientist wanting to create high-level cognitive systems, it doesn’t matter. At any point of the programming abstraction, robotic engineers may be involved.

The critical distinction between robotics and other programming disciplines is that hardware, circuitry, and the physical world interfere with robotic programming. If and when it is needed, they should be comfortable learning every new language.

Active Learning

Robotics is a subject full of surprises. It is impossible to have hands-on every nook and cranny of this field before starting a project. Hence it leads to process-oriented intellectual growth whenever one is working on robotics. Thus reading comprehension and active grasping of new concepts are necessary if one desires to become an expert roboticist.

Strong Foundation in Mathematics

Without a good grasp of at least algebra, calculus, and geometry, it will probably be hard to succeed in robotics. This is because robotics relies on comprehending and manipulating abstract concepts at a fundamental level, often representing those concepts as functions or equations. 

A good understanding of geometry is essential for the knowledge of subjects such as kinematics and technical drawing.

Roboticist | How to become one and 5+ Important Skills

Skilled in Applied Sciences

The real world is never as precise as math. A roboticist needs to decide when the result of a calculation is worthy enough to pursue further. Hence they must gain experience in how to apply theoretical sciences to their needs.

Decision Making Skills

Robotics is full of options, and one right answer is rarely available. As a roboticist, you might be better positioned to weigh up those topics than engineers from more technical backgrounds due to your broader knowledge base. Being a successful roboticist involves making engineering decisions continuously as often one is surrounded by questions like- To program your Robot, what system do you use? How many degrees of freedom is your Robot meant to give? What sensors do you have to use?

To make the most of your role, judgment and decision making is essential. Analytical thinking skills will empower you to evaluate the problem from different angles, and logical thinking skills will help you use logic and analysis to balance each solution’s strengths and disadvantages.

Communication Skills

Your generalist experience as a roboticist would sometimes have you clarify ideas to non-specialists. For instance, you can describe a high-level programming problem to a mechanical engineer or a computer scientist as a structural dynamics problem. Good roboticists are a contact medium for various disciplines. Communication abilities are, thus, essential. It is necessary to be able to use your speech and writing skills effectively. Also, it’s a significant advantage if you have good teaching skills.

Engineering Design

Being skilled in engineering design involves designing devices that work, which is crucial when a robotic device is being developed. It also consists of being able to sort out anything that doesn’t work correctly and discover potential alternatives that include maintenance skills. For a roboticist, these are also essential talents.

A wide variety of innovations are used in robotics, so technology design skills ensure that you can quickly isolate the root of challenges and suggest practical solutions. Great roboticists have an almost remarkable capacity to “get it working.”

Problem-Solving Attitude

It is undoubtedly true with roboticists that “If you like things to be easy, you will have difficulties. If you like problems, you will succeed”. A lot of robotics is about using Complex Problem-Solving abilities, as we’ve learned from previous skills. You will love robots if you enjoy solving problems! 

Problem-solving involves:

  • Anticipating problems.
  • Solving problems before they have even arisen.
  • Solving problems if they emerge.

Persistence

Finally, patience is an important ability, considering the dynamic nature of robotics. It could be persistence to find a solution to a particularly challenging problem or industry in trying to explain to others a complex subject. Strong roboticists can also help have their diligence accompanied by Dependability, proving to be as knowledgeable and adaptable as robotics needs them to be.

Many come to ask for the right direction into entering the field of robotics and getting established. But more than the right direction or the right path, it’s about acquiring the right toolset. Robotics is an interdisciplinary field that welcomes people from diverse fields of science and engineering like Mechanical, Electrical & Electronics, and Computer Science, to name a few. It’s about recognizing how one can contribute to this field’s development with one existing foundation in science and/or engineering.

It is not that easy to get a full-time job in a robotics corporation and be known as such. Below is a summary of the skill-set that a typical engineer in robotics should have:

  • Become a fluent and articulate programmer because C, C++, Python, and MATLAB are essential.
  • Make yourself at ease with hardware. You should know what SPI, I2C, and Ethernet are, at least. If anyone asks you to write a userspace (or kernel space) driver, don’t panic. Get yourself an SBC and see what you can do with it if you don’t already have it.
  • Learn git or some other version control system used to build applications. If someone asks for your Github account, be ready.
  • Get hands-on experience with the Robot Operating System (ROS).
  • Get yourself a robot simulation specialist at Gazebo and start practicing basic algorithms.
  • Construct a robot and get it started with your own hands. Basic toolkits are readily available in the market. 
  • Must get some motivation from practical examples outside the lab.

5 Major Fields that Roboticists are working on

Operator Interface

This applies to the human-robot interface that describes the connection between humans and robots—the robot functions based on human-led commands. A kid playing a video game is the perfect example of this. Here, the joystick serves as the interface between the person and the computer.

Locomotion-based Robots

Robots perform tasks dependent on locomotion in this example. Here, you can also find human-like robots that use legs to walk about. The propellers are used for travel by some flying robots and drones. Depending on the climate, others might also use wheels on air, water, or ground.

Component-based Robots

It is the part inside the Robot that lets it do the defined job in this situation. These human-like robots can use mechanized arms and fingers, claws, or pushers to carry out the job, depending on the situation. This is particularly important in businesses that are engaged in heavy lifting and transporting items. 

Message delivering Robot

With the aid of numerous means, commands need to be given to the robots. There are more than one thousand programming languages today, and each Robot interprets the instructions provided in its way. Many robots are also updated so that they can adjust to their changing environment.

Sensing and Perceiving ability of Robot

This denotes how machines perceive and respond to objects in and about their world. For starters, if a robot comes into contact with an obstacle, what path does it take? This factor is fed into the Robot, which allows them to make the correct choice.

Latest Technologies in Robotics

The machines have moved out of research laboratories for a long time to venture into new areas. The epic migration to drugstores, the automotive sector, and more is expected to continue. In the manufacturing industry, countless robots are already contributing to higher quality products and shorter turnaround times.

Such robots are proving to be effective at fundamental tasks and occupations. Robots are vulnerable to fewer mistakes, needless downtime, and are more economical. They experience higher retention rates as a result. But there needs to be someone to run it on any computer and fix it should it break down. This is where individuals trained in the mechatronics sector come in.

  • Google’s worker robots- Google plans to manufacture job robots with personality. Recently, the technology giant received a patent on this groundbreaking scheme. Engineers can encourage the machines from a cloud-based system to download personalities. When communicating with humans, robots can store and display numerous characters.
  • Multi-tasking bots- A multi-tasking bot capable of cooking a gourmet hamburger in as little as 10 seconds was created by Momentum Machines. The Robot could potentially be used in fast-food restaurants if all goes well.
  • UR3 Arm– On the move, an autonomous system built by Universal Robots known as UR3 can construct its replacement pieces. A selection of activities, such as gluing, drawing, soldering, and grabbing, can be managed by the adorable and nimble Robot.
  • Saul Robot– Saul Robot’s goal is to help combat deadly diseases . The Air Force deployed the system to remove the infection in rooms where aid workers undergo quarantine procedures. Designed by Xenex, using intense beams of highly energetic ultraviolet rays. It breaks down and weakens the virus’s cell walls.
  • Asus Zenbo– Asus Zenbo is a low-cost robot able to roll about and understand verbal commands autonomously. Asus created the device to help users recall everyday activities, such as routines for exercise and medicine and medical appointments. To detect any emergencies, Zenbo can also track the surroundings. It will attach to smart-home components such as safety cameras, lighting, etc.
  • Paro– Paro has the look of a baby harp seal and is a therapy robot. The fury tool is designed to help lower levels of tension and stimulate contact between patients and caregivers. When it comes to inspiring and making patients relax, it has been successful. The therapeutic consequences of animal therapy are drawn from the recorded benefits.
  • Pepper– Pepper is a humanoid talking Robot that adapts its personality depending on how it perceives the human mood. Emotional states like sadness, surprise, joy, and anger are detected by the device. Naturally and appropriately, it responds. To detect sounds, Pepper employs multi-directional microphones. To determine voice tone, the intelligent computer analyzes the linguistic area. This makes it possible to comprehend the emotional context accurately. For vision, Pepper uses a combination of 2HD and 3D cameras to identify object shapes. Its developers embedded up to 20 engines in the head, back, and arms to regulate movements.

Interested to learn how to build a robot? Click here.

About Esha Chakraborty

Roboticist | How to become one and 5+ Important SkillsI have a background in Aerospace Engineering, currently working towards the application of Robotics in the Defense and the Space Science Industry. I am a continuous learner and my passion for creative arts keeps me inclined towards designing novel engineering concepts.
With robots substituting almost all human actions in the future, I like to bring to my readers the foundational aspects of the subject in an easy yet informative manner. I also like to keep updated with the advancements in the aerospace industry simultaneously.

Connect with me with LinkedIn - http://linkedin.com/in/eshachakraborty93

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