This robotics IPRO experience will emphasize the making of robotics prototypes through an agile process involving small interdisciplinary teams within the class. The prototypes will be built up through student discovery of opportunities, founded in their passion, interest and creativity. The multiple IPRO teams in the class will be stimulated and informed by interdisciplinary discussions at the convergence of Engineering Methodologies, Design Thinking and Ethics.
The potential of robots and the field of robotics have fascinated futurists and technologists for generations. Ranging from automating mundane tasks in manufacturing to creating intelligent humanoids that care for the elderly, applications abound and evolve, driven by advances in the state-of-the-art of enabling technologies that transform fanciful notions into practical embodiments that empower and benefit users. Through the efforts of Dean Kamen and others, robotics has become a powerful platform for inspiring young people to pursue technical fields of study, through kits and competitions that are fun, encourage in-depth understanding and creative expression, and build team skills. NASA missions to Mars and other reaches of the solar system serve to further demonstrate the cutting edge possibilities of robotics-enabled systems and are credited with inspiring the imagination of our youth and their quest to pursue similar interests. At IIT, Illinois Tech Robotics has become a prominent student organization with passionate, sustaining members from a variety of disciplines that collaborate in competitions and serve as mentors to young people being introduced to the excitement and challenge of robotics competitions.
This IPRO class is an on-going robotics initiative in collaboration with Illinois Tech Robotics and various other robotics-related faculty research and course activities, that over many semesters will explore, develop, test and deploy robotics-related innovations for a variety of stakeholders. Innovation is often characterized as a great idea executed well and thus capitalizing on the fun, excitement, challenge and potential of robotics via the melding of user-centered design thinking based on insights, brainstorming and prototyping (the great idea) with the rigorous application of engineering and other transformative design methods (executed well) creates a compelling experience for everyone involved.
The possibilities for team focus and investigation are bounded only by the collaborative imagination and creativity of students who join the class: developing prototypes that integrate and demonstrate solutions at the convergence of robotics, embedded systems, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s, including drones), etc. This could also include exploring important robotics-centered applications for such user populations as college students, seniors, people with disabilities, children, pets, etc., in a variety of environments, such as school, work, home, care facilities, consumer and industrial settings, mobile environments, etc.