Robotics and Computer Science Technology

Written by Carly Hallman

Robots once seemed firmly rooted in the world of science fiction, but today, the field of robotics has entered the mainstream. We may not all have robot maids like in The Jetsons, but many people do have robotic vacuum cleaners. Robots work on factory assembly lines and even deliver food to people’s doors. Technological advances in microprocessors, gears, and cameras have fueled the growth of the robotic industry to the point that today’s young adults are likely to experience meeting autonomous robots with a high degree of intelligence in their lifetimes. Until then, everyone will continue to see more and more use of robotics in a wide variety of consumer goods.

Robotics is the field of scientific research dealing with the development of machines with artificial intelligence that can complete tasks that were previously carried out by humans. Many other disciplines have made great strides with incorporating robotics into their work, including medicine, the military, and private industries. Some robots are small and carry out one defined task, while others are larger and capable of more complex series of tasks. But they all share one thing in common: They depend on highly advanced computer programming that guides their actions. Artificial intelligence also requires sophisticated and powerful computers.

Robotics Organizations

  • Association for Advancing Automation: A3 is a trade organization representing organizations and companies involved in artificial intelligence and robotics.
  • Carnegie Mellon Robotics Club: Carnegie Mellon’s undergraduate robotics club offers a list of past projects, which include robobuggies and quadcopters.
  • IEEE Robotics and Automation Society: The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society strives to advance the theory and practical advancement of robotics in all parts of society.
  • The Robot Group: The Robot Group is a nonprofit that was founded in 1989 to combine technology with art.
  • Seattle Robotics Society: This is a nonprofit volunteer society for those in the Seattle area who want to learn about and build robots.

Equipment Sources for Robotics

  • Lego Mindstorms: Many people build their first robots using Lego parts.
  • Robot Shop: The components most beginners will need to build a robot are available here.
  • VEX Robotics: Find a wide range of robotics kits in this store.

Journals, Magazines, and Internet Publications

Robotics Conferences and Competitions

  • FIRST Robotics Competition: One of the oldest robotics competitions aims to get young people involved in engineering and robotics.
  • Botball: An educational robotics program aimed at middle and high school students teaches engineering, science, technology, math, and writing in a fun, hands-on manner.
  • International Aerial Robotics Competition: Founded in 1991, the purpose of this contest is to create “impossible” challenges that will move aerial robotics forward.
  • Eurobot: Eurobot seeks to foster interest in robotics in young people around the world.
  • Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition: College and graduate students compete in challenges using autonomous ground vehicles.
  • RoboGames: Invited competitors take part in 50 different events in what is considered the Olympics of robotics competitions.

University Programs and Robotics Scholarships

  • Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute: Undergraduate courses in robotics are offered along with master’s and Ph.D.-level degrees from Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute.
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Degrees in robotics engineering are offered for both undergraduate and graduate students at WPI.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: As well as having numerous on-campus courses and programs related to robotics, MIT offers a course on robotics with no student loans required through OpenCourseWare.
  • Virginia Tech: An undergraduate major in mechanical engineering robotics and mechatronics is offered here.
  • University of Michigan: Undergraduate courses and dedicated graduate majors are available through this university.
  • University of Pennsylvania: UPenn’s engineering school offers a highly ranked master’s degree in robotics.
  • Harvard Robotics Laboratory: Students interested in Harvard’s robotics studies should apply through the school’s Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  • Georgia Tech: This university offers interdisciplinary graduate degrees in the study of robotics.
  • Kennesaw State University: This Atlanta-area school offers bachelor’s and graduate degrees through its school of engineering.
  • Brown University Robotics: Brown’s robotics group focuses on how robots can work in collaboration with humans.

General Robotics Resources

  • BBC: Robots: The BBC assembled this comprehensive overview of robotics news, programming, and lessons.
  • Learn About Robots: Ever heard of cobots? These are robots designed to work safely alongside human counterparts.
  • Lab Robotics: This site has articles ranging from a list of the most famous robots in popular culture to information on which colleges offer focused degrees in robotics.
  • Introduction to Robotics: How Robots Benefit the World: This guide provided by provides background information about why robots are an important part of the future.
  • RobotC: This robotics programming language is commonly used by students.
  • Robot Hall of Fame: The Robot Hall of Fame was founded by Carnegie Mellon to honor achievements in this field.
  • SAPHIRA Robot Control System: This robot control system was designed around an integrated approach to making robots.

Interested in learning more? Visit and check out the Discovery Center for blogs about finance, technology, lifestyle and more!