Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Robotics gains a new focus at Vic

13 December 2005

Robotics gains a new focus at Vic

Designing and building robots that can operate without human intervention will be one of the options available for postgraduate science students at Victoria University in 2006.

The University is launching a new major in electronic and computer systems engineering in the Master of Science programme to be led by New Zealand robotic expert, Associate Professor Dale Carnegie.

Associate Professor Carnegie joined Victoria earlier this year from Waikato University, where he established its programme in mechatronics in the early 1990s. While Victoria has offered some robotics courses in the past, mechatronics is a new field that combines mechanical, electronic and software engineering with sensors, physics, mathematics, marketing and design.

Drawing on the resources of the Schools of Chemical & Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science and Design, the programme, which begins next year, includes a blend of courses on artificial intelligence, mechatronics, software engineering, physics and mathematics, with hands on work in making robotic devices.

“From my experience, students will enjoy this new programme because it gives them the ability to take theory and knowledge and put it into practice by building working robots of their own. They can either work in groups on large projects or alone on smaller projects and the options are flexible enough to suit students whose interests are in electronics, software or mechanics.”

Associate Professor Carnegie says the future of robotics is in mechatronics and the creation of autonomous robots that do not need human intervention to carry out their work.

“We’re all used to seeing those massive and expensive robots used throughout the world to build cars. They accurately and repetitively complete the same task over and over and while they’re very successful at doing that, they cannot handle any variation.

“My group has created a robot, Marvin – short for Mobile Autonomous Robotic Vehicle for Indoor Navigation – who works as a security guard, moving through office corridors after hours, questioning people he meets. Through voice recognition and scanning technology he works out who is allowed to be in the office, alerting security guards when he meets people who should not be there. He can emotionally respond to people he meets and his size increases to intimidate a stranger.”

The creation of autonomous robots is a potential new industry for New Zealand, he says. “We will never be able to compete against the massive robotic manufacturers in Japan and Taiwan, but we can create robots to carry out repetitive but varied manual tasks in niche industries. The potential is simply unlimited. My students have already made robots that can autonomously move through a farm, checking pasture quality. Such robots could be used to move through a forest, assessing the size and number of trees ready to be felled. One day they might even carry out the logging as robotic lumberjacks.”

Dean of Science, Professor David Bibby, says the new programme offered an exciting, new option for students.

“While Victoria has offered courses in robotics, mechatronics is a fascinating new field that offers both theoretical knowledge and hands on experience. Associate Professor Carnegie is putting together a programme that draws on knowledge from throughout the University from disciplines as diverse as software engineering and design. “


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news