What courses should I take to get a job dealing with robotics??

Good day!
I am currently enrolled in college for Automation Technology, but I am wondering if anyone knows of better courses to take that would prepare
me, or help me actualyl get a job in this field. Can anyone think of college or university programs that deal more with designing and implenting robots, rather than just programming and repairing them? Do I need to get a job for a roboto manufacturer in order to get this type of special training? Thank you for your time.
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Take every single control-systems class you can find.
They will be in Elecrtical engineering, Aerospace engineering and Mechnaical engineering. (And maybe even Chemical engineering)
Also, take statics, dynamics and other mechanical-systems analysis courses.
Learn everything you can about 3D transforms and analysis of robot mechanics and you'll find a job waiting for you.
These classes are darn hard, you need 2 years of calculus and you actually need to understand how to use it, but then you will find out that these are really fun courses and you'll fly through them.
If you are not interested in 2 years of calculus, GET OUT NOW!!! and find another career.
--
- Alan Kilian <alank(at)timelogic.com>
Director of Bioinformatics, TimeLogic Corporation 763-449-7622
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Ya, the calculus part is the part I am right now....When you say "two years of calculus" is that university level, college level, or does it matter?
Thank you very much for all those opinions. That is exactly the type of answer I was looking for. Any other suggestions??
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On 30 Jan 2004, King George wrote:

That would be 2 years of college level calculus. However, keep in mind that college-level calculus comes in two basic flavors.
There's Calculus Lite which is intended for the L&S and Business majors.
Then there's the full-bodied, bold Calculus. These courses are the ones that will be required for Physics, Engineering, and Mathematics majors. They're tough, but you'll have the mathematical background necessary for the Statics, Dynamics, Physics and Controls courses.
These courses are rigorous, but they will also give you the fundamentals of critical thinking, breaking a problem into smaller component parts, and arriving at a solution in a logical, step-by-step manner.
---Keith Lehman Computer Science & Electrical Engineering University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
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King George wrote:

Apart from the courses, there's also some career issues to consider:
1. Jobs in the design of robotics in North America are practically non-existent. The majority of "robotics" jobs are more toward factory automation, which some folks don't care for. If you're not interested in building an automated conveyor belt for moving creme cheese, robotics may not be a field that will provide much of a career path.
2. I've encountered quite a number of students initially interested in robotics find they don't particularly like it once they build a few. Your original post didn't mention how much hands-on experience you have building basic bots. If you haven't done at least a couple (not LEGO, not from-a-kit, but custom) you might want to do that before firming up your future plans.
This is not to dissaude you from taking up robotics as a career. It can be quite enjoyable and rewarding. But I think it's also helpful to be aware of the world that awaits you when you finish school.
I was amazed, for example, when I read that LEGO Land in the US (I live near there) recently had this huge competition to find a Master Builder for the park. After whittling down hundreds of applicants from around the country, they finally found three finalists. Turns out they had openings for all three, but I was shocked when I read starting salary was $31,000 a year! This is for a highly visible position that required proven job skills. After taxes that's maybe $2000 a month. In San Diego that's hardly enough to live on.
Seems unfair, but this is what happens when supply outstrips demand. My best suggestion is to keep options open, and look beyond "robotics." A creme cheese conveyor can be exciting too... <g>
-- Gordon Author: Constructing Robot Bases, Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza
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All good advice from here and I've got a couple that haven't been mentioned yet. First, all the higher math and physics stuff is great, but you'd be amazed at how many very good mathematicians and physicists I've seen that can't change a lightbulb. If at all possible you want to take few courses where you get dirty, you'll be glad you did. Try a technical college course or two in metalworking, welding, or even carpentry or woodworking. The skills you learn in any of these courses will be some of the most important things in actually building the things. Second, Gordon is right about the lack of jobs in the US in robotics other than industrial automation. I can't tell from your original post if you are more of a hardware guy or a brain guy. But a related field of work that uses many of the same skill sets as robotics and that really is robotics in some cases is animatronics. And while not begging for bodies, the industries that use animatronics (eg. movie, amusement parks, storefront display makers) are quite alive and growing even here in the US. And while not quite what you were looking for, they might be something to consider. Just my two cents worth Eddie
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I am definitly more of the hands on guy. I dont mind programming...but I live for building. I like getting down and dirty. I do have my welding certificate, not for a collegiate instituion, but from a 10 week course i took. I really jsut have the imagination....I can see it in my head and build it with my hands.....unfortunetly for me, the middle processes, such as drawing, pricing, and overall physical designing go way beyond my artistic ability. I do much better in my head...
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Edward Dunaway wrote:

Good advice. They can also be fun because most shops are small. Hardware SFX for movies is becoming less common because more and more shots are done digitally (and in Hollywood much of that work is union, and tough to get into) but I note the OP is from Canada, and there's still a lot of American TV and movies made in Canada. (In fact, the upcoming I, Robot movie was shot in Vancouver. Saves money.)
One other vanue for animatronics is conventions, for both mobile platforms and stationary. A little robot that wanders around the carpeted (knows to stay there) booth, passing out leaflets using a motorized ejector -- like the kind in supermarkets for coupons-- is always an attention getter. Doesn't matter what the product is.
-- Gordon Author: Constructing Robot Bases, Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza
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Yes, that all makes perfect sense to me. In fact, I have been beginning to see that robotics is not all the flash and hope that I had for it. Recently, I have just been programming already constructed work cells, in my colleges engineering commons. I have approx 60hrs on GMF-400 Robots, and about 150 hours on Allen-Bradley and OMRON plc's. Aside from that, I have not done anything other than rip apart tons of remote control cars and build hybrids...but seeing as how these creations did not have brains....I never really thought of them as robots. They were just tinkerings.
I do plan on becoming an electrician as my first choice. I figured that the road to a good job in robotics most likely lies overseas anyways, at FANUC headquarters, where I'll be up against the best of the best. Here at home, there is no shame in being an electrician, and to be honest, I love playing with high voltage! The way the cards fell, I just got into robotics first. I did a short stint with an apprenticeship for electrician, however, due to lack of work, I was laid off after 800hrs. It was getting close to the time to apply for college, so I put the electrician job search aside, and got back onto my hobby train.
I do not mind the whoel factory automation part. AS I am finsihing my first two years of college in 3 months....I was actually hoping to get into FORD in Windsor (ont) or GM in Osahawa (ont). I thoguht either one of these places might be able to get me working near the equipment I want. And the best oart is that I have open doors to both of these companys through my family members. But I am going to take right up until the last day, before I make my decision. Thus this discussion board.
I must say, you are really giving me great advice, and I cannot thank you enough!
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As someone 'Whose been there and done that', 'Get into Ford NOW' if you can. At least get on the Apprenticeship waiting list. Ford 'pays' for college.
The most interesting machine controls are in machining operations, engine or transmission plants. There's nothing as satisfying as working on a problem on a block long machining line and discovering something that the OEM missed, and nothing as frustrating as trying to explain it to management.
-- Jay -------------------------------------------------------------------- "I'm pullin' for you; we're all in this together", Red Green --------------------------------------------------------------------
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King George wrote:

I don't know what it's like in Canada, but here in the US a journeyman electrician makes a pretty good wage, with retirement bennies and the rest. Good enough pay that you might be able to get a good job as an electrician by day, and robot tinkerer by night and weekend.
I belong to a couple of area robot groups, and with the exception of those members who started their own small companies, no one at any of the groups has a job in "robotics." We all do payin' things during the day, and play with the kind of robots we want in our off hours. I've written some books on robotics, and run a small amateur robot supply company (Budget Robotics) but neither generates enough income to live on. It actually works out well, because if I *had* to rely on robotics to make a living, I'd probably end up hating it. I'd hate to hate it.

Anopther thing to keep in mind is that more and more auto makers are turning to contractors for supplying ready-made subsystems and modules. The role of the car design engineer is becoming something of a purchase manager, who specs out the part, then gets quotes from contractors from around the globe. It's cheaper for them. Of course, there are still major parts in any car made by and at the auto manufacturer, but in any case, keep an eye out for the contractors working for the major auto makers. There are lots more jobs than meets the eye, and that doesn't even consider the aftermarket market...
-- Gordon Author: Constructing Robot Bases, Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza
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A few jobs going in medical electronics and devices. Some robotics types others not. Some of them have plenty of High Voltage.
And sure to take some non-Engineering / non-Physics / non-maths subjects.
Maybe some of the bio or med science subjects. How biological systems work.
I'm studying Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering myself. exAircraft Maintenance Engineer Avionics. 4th year and two to go. Doing abit of tutoring and lab support. Tutoring Introductory digital systems again this semester.
One of the biggest emplyers of Engineers here in Sydney is one of the banks. For evaluating purchases, maintenace work on current holdings etc Developmet oppurtunities, captiol works etc.
Alex
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im studying computer science and Cybernetics, lots of work on control systems and feedback systems. Even doing a mini robot project this term. If you dont enjoy maths then your be buggered

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I've noticed that most of the robotics seem to be control system and feedback systems. Actually three of my 8 classes right now are on those subjects alone. Another three are maths and the last two are actually programming work cells to do complex tasks(paint objects, hot glue objects and cut objects) However these fairly hands on classes only make up 1/8 of my class time....Other than that, I am basically doing math every night. Not easy on the brain for sure....but man, when I get an equasion to work out...nothing really beats that...save for sex:> lol
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Build robots.
The main key to learning if you want to do something is to actually do it.
I've worked in academia for most of my life, and I've seen engineering programms go to theory rather than practice. If you think that you want to go into robotics, then build a robot on your own, without being part of a course. If you find you enjoyed this, or that you now want to try out improvements in your design, then study more.
You will learn *much* more from your school courses if you are simultaniously getting your hands dirty building things. -- D. Jay Newman http://enerd.ws/robots /
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