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Roboticists, AI and Everything In-between

Robotics and Automation are two of the world’s fast growing industries according to fortune.com. According to a report published by the International Data Corporation, estimated spending on robotics and related services will reach 135 billion US dollars by 2019. The breadth of different emerging technology industries is vast and will only diversify as discoveries are made. Ranging from humanoid robotics, drone technology, military exoskeleton suits to autonomous planes trains and automobiles.

This following video shows the cutting edge Atlas Robot from @BostonDynamics one of the main US companies leading the way in humanoid robotics. Truly incredible!

Preparing our young minds for employment opportunities that are yet to be created is essential if Australia is to keep a foothold in this emerging market. Professor Michael Milford, from QUT explained in a recent lecture that the best minds at university often leave our shores on completion of their courses for the US, to work with companies such as Google, MIT, Boston Dynamics, iRobot or the military robotics manufacturer, Foster-Miller. The lure of million dollar contracts and research grants is too great to keep our bright young minds working in Australia. The Inventions of Australian scientists has changed the world as we know it, from the development of WiFi by John O’Sullivan and CSIRO to the development of google maps by Neil Gordan and Stephen Ma. We may not be able to prevent these kinds of brilliant inventors leaving the country to follow their dreams, however we can certainly help our future inventors get there and hopefully they will return to ‘set up shop’ in Oz.

So what can be done at College level to develop students ability in robotics and related fields?

The answer to this question has three main foci. Firstly, we must develop a foundation of skills in coding principles and advancing students ability to code functionally and through the use of object orientated coding in languages such as Python, so that once they leave the college and if they do decide take up a technology related degree, they already have a significant advantage. Secondly, we must give students a foundation of skills in electronics though developing our use of accessible tech, such as Arduinos, and Raspberry Pi’s. Individuals that can combine these skills will undoubtedly prove a valued asset to corporations and companies developing cutting edge technology of the future. Lastly, access to proficient technology teachers and equipment must be constant and available from year 4 to 12. The subject must be fluid and in my belief form a National triumvirate in schools with English and Mathematics to see any significant shift. Children must be exposed to computational and algorithmic thinking from the earliest age, only then will we perhaps fill the shortages in specialised technology fields predicted in the future.

ATC is working to develop a middle and senior Makerspace utilising the technology listed above, which will develop the analytical, problem solving and resilience of our young minds. This technology can be used by all subjects to enrich lessons and develop practical skills inside and outside the curriculum. Any students wishing to participate in developing their skills in Digital Technology should come to the Robotics Club 3:15pm to 4:15pm in T103 on Thursdays until the end of the year. We have cool beats as well as robotics! Here’s a preview:

And for those ATC students that plan to make their millions in technology, please remember your old Digital Technology teacher loves Lamborghini’s!

Adam Moss
Head of Digital Technology
mossa@atc.qld.edu.au