Alcoa Foundation Provides $50,000 to Support Rose-Hulman's
Expanding Robotics Initiative
|Expanding Academic Area:
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's robotics initiative has seen
increased interest among students and faculty scholars.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has been awarded a $50,000
grant by The Alcoa Foundation to support the college's expanding
robotics initiative. The grant will enable Rose-Hulman to add
project workstations that replicate industrial robotics.
"Students are ready to learn more about
programming, electronics, controls, artificial intelligence, robot
vision and kinematics," she stated."Alcoa Foundation and
Rose-Hulman share a common goal of upgrading the skills of
tomorrow's workforce and leaders. The new robotics workstations
will present students with similar situations encountered in
manufacturing operations, allowing further production improvements
and better robotics," said Joseph Haniford, vice president of
global manufacturing for Alcoa Power and Propulsion. "It is
essential that students have modern tools to explore the challenges
we confront in the work environment."
Rose-Hulman specializes in hands-on education that stresses
development of skills in a personal environment allowing students
and graduates to make positive contributions to today's innovative
technology-based workplace. Student teams will use the workstations
to obtain practical experience on how industrial robotics is used,
how robotic systems are selected and how applications are developed
that use modern robotics systems.
Applied robotics is a concentration area in Rose-Hulman's
multidisciplinary robotics academic minor and technical certificate
programs, which have experienced substantial growth since being
added three years ago. More students are expressing an interest in
robotics each school year, and the number of students completing
robotics capstone design projects has doubled every year. The
workstations will increase the number of students able to
participate in robotics projects, according to David Fisher,
assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
"Robotics will open new career fields for Rose-Hulman students and
further enhance their educational experience," states Fisher, who
has joined faculty colleagues in seeking industrial support for
Rose-Hulman's robotics program. "The workstations being provided by
The Alcoa Foundation funding will offer a great learning
opportunity for Rose-Hulman students."
The Alcoa Foundation grant has been added to a $20,000 grant from
Beckman Coulter to provide applied robotics equipment to the
Robotics is a multidisciplinary field, blending mechanics,
electronics, controls, and software, and requiring engineers to
have deep enough knowledge where they can contribute within their
specialty, but broad enough knowledge to understand other
engineers. Rose-Hulman offers a robotics certificate to students
completing seven courses, including a senior design project in
robotics. Students can concentrate their robotics experience in
controls, hardware development, mechanics, computer engineering,
programming, sensors and electronics.
"Our students must be able to work in multidisciplinary teams,"
added Carlotta Berry, assistant professor of electrical and
computer engineering, and another faculty member of Rose-Hulman's
robotics initiative. "The robotics industry has been compared to
the personal computer industry in the 1970s. It is a career field
with great potential."
Students are coming to college with more experience and interest
than ever before, Berry acknowledged, thanks to FIRST Robotics,
BotBall, First Lego League and other competitions.
Other robotics program faculty members are Matt Boutell, assistant
professor of computer science and software engineering, and Steve
Chenoweth, associate professor of computer science and software