Robot Education: Creative Ways to Shift from WALL-E to Workcell


by Amy Toland, Publicist, RobotWorx

Eva from WALL-E“Do you have any Eves?”

The little boy was completely serious. He really believed we might have a room of white, flitting robots just like the one named “EVE” in Disney’s WALL-E movie.

Questions like this are not unusual when we take students on tours of the showroom at industrial robot integrator RobotWorx. For many kids (and adults) coming to terms with what a real industrial robot looks like and how it works requires some mental gymnastics. The fictions of Ironman and Transformers are easier to comprehend than the practical reality of a 6-axis manipulator.

RobotWorx president Keith Wanner has always felt an obligation to mend this disconnect with industrial robots. He believes America’s youth need to be exposed to robotics. Not only is the field an exciting one in need of new recruits, robotics provides a unique learning opportunity – synthesizing multiple subject areas including mathematics, science, computer science, and electronics.

Robotworx tour of used robots and integration facility in OhioAnd so, each year, in addition to giving tours of our facility to school groups and robot clubs, RobotWorx has found out-of-the-box ways to further robotics education. You could say our goal has been put the general public in touch with authentic robots without losing any of the “EVE” wonder. It has always proved a very rewarding experience. Here are some of the things we’ve done and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Contribute What You Can:

One of the main things we’ve gleaned from the entire “giving back” process is your company doesn’t have to give millions of dollars to invest in the next generation. You can make an impact with small monetary contributions and other types of support. We’ve provided a number of robot clubs and other organizations across the country with modest donations that made a difference. Our most recent contribution went to a national robotics competition group, Botball.

In addition, remember that as robotics companies we already have what it takes to be extremely valuable resources – we’re enthusiastic and knowledgeable about robots! Consider making your impact with some scheduled tours of your facility or school presentations. For example, Mr. Wanner has given a number of inspirational talks to area youth and local business groups.

Consider Unique Ways to Give:

Look for ways to put robotic arms front and center. RobotWorx has had a lot of good experiences donating robotic equipment to various television shows and film productions. Our robotic arms have been featured in NBC’s Knight Rider, History Channel shows Sliced and Modern Marvels, as well as Paramount’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra movie.

Last year, RobotWorx donated an enclosed cart and two robotic arms, “Rivet” and “Bolt” to a science museum in Columbus, COSI. The robots are now an integral component of their robotics programming. The robots entertain and demonstrate their abilities by dancing and putting together puzzles. We were very pleased with the outcome.

Look for Local Opportunities:

It’s important to seek out and support local robotics educational movements – clubs, competitions, STEM programs, etc. By contributing to organizations and efforts right in your neighborhood, you will be able to see your impact over time.

We were honored to sponsor a new 4H robotics program, RoboKids, in our town of Marion, Ohio. The National Robotics Challenge is a robotics competition that takes place right down the street from RobotWorx every year. We host RobotWorx facility fieldtrips that include an “Introduction to Robots” slideshow and a tour.

In Closing:

As you can see, there are many ways to promote robot education. RobotWorx’ involvement with robot education continues to prove extremely rewarding. It’s incredible to be able to share resources and knowledge with the next generation, a generation that is eager to learn anything and everything about robots. We’re very thankful for the opportunities we’ve had to give back and inspire others about industrial robotics.

RobotWorx is an industrial robot integrator located in Marion, Ohio. For more information, visit http://www.robots.com or call 740-383-8383.

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