The other day, I was discussing robotics, one of my all-time favorite topics, with an Internet acquaintance. We came up with an interesting application for an automotive service robot, something that could help auto shops and auto businesses compete with rising labor costs and health care mandates - all of which will affect the bottom line, ROI and profit potential. Let's talk, shall we?
You see he asked me a very interesting question, really cutting to the chase, he said of my concept that I had; "Very exciting thoughts on the robotics! How much experience do you have in robotics?" Good question and how much robotic know-how and experience do you need to engineer such a device, "hmm," I thought to myself, then replied, well, I guess I have a greater knowledge base and experience than a 17-year old who has built robotic Lego toys all his young life. And, while that might not sound like a lot, think about how much engineering experience a young adult would have if they played with robotic Lego kits throughout their teens?
Okay so, I reminded my acquaintance that I was previously in the car washing and truck washing industry, which is mostly all robotics - tunnel mechanisms - instead in this case the car or objects to get the oil change becomes the box to sense and your robotics move around the box rather than the robotics being the box itself. Same sensors, different strategy - but in essence it is all the same. I am fascinated by robotics. Is that enough to design a new innovation in robotics for a particular sector? Before you answer - remember the Wright Brothers were only bicycle mechanics, in essence, they used those engineering skills to build an aircraft.
As far as advanced robotics, I went to the first DARPA Grand Challenge and have pictures to prove it. I spend a good deal of time thinking about robotics, and I've written a good deal on the topic. Plus, as a fabricator, manufacturing car wash guys equipment, I can design and build anything of course. So, would that be enough? Well, it will have to do, and I believe it is, therefore I am undeterred in building the next generation of robotic whatever - whether it flies, drives, goes underwater or floats, or even goes to space - maybe some of all of the above. Think beyond your limits, dream and make it happen because the future of robotics will be a great place for engineers to be. Think about it.