Robotics Engineer

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Thanks to robotic tools and ultra-high speed communications, a Canadian company is helping show how to do ultra-sensitive surgeries from thousands of miles away!

Mechanical Humans

Robots don’t just stand in for humans on assembly lines. They now help doctors perform surgeries remotely. They explore Mars. And they bring a lifelike sense of touch to artificial limbs. Robots may not be quite ready to totally replace people. But IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, crushed his human competitors on Jeopardy. No doubt, robots will one day think and talk just like us.

Snapshot

NASA’s space shuttle missions have ended. But Canada’s 30-year leadership in space robotics continues with Canadarm 2 on the International Space Station. This kind of creativity applies on the ground too as robotics engineers combine computing, electronics and mechanics in all sorts of amazing ways. Some robots roam airports to sniff for explosives. Others search for survivors in precarious earthquake debris.  A big growth market is healthcare, where surgical laser arms make super precise cuts and ‘robotic trousers’ help paralyzed people walk.

For people who

  • Are creative with mechanics and computer programming
  • Have strong troubleshooting and problem solving skills
  • Are detail oriented and follow technical documentation closely
  • Work well on multidisciplinary teams
  • Are committed to continuously learning new ways to apply robotics


Education pathways

Robotics engineers mash up multidisciplinary courses across electronics, mechanics and computer programming. For example, the University of Toronto has a robotics and mechatronics stream in its electrical and computer engineering program. McMaster is a global pioneer in telepresence surgery through its medical robotics group at the School of Biomedical Engineering.   You can take college-level robotics courses  in electromechanical diploma programs at Sheridan, George Brown, Centennial, Humber, St. Clair and Fanshawe.

Destinations

Whatever the use, core robot technologies don’t vary much. But robotics engineers tailor their outward shapes and functions in all sorts of ways, whether for manufacturing, healthcare, scientific research, the military, space or aviation. Robotics engineers dream up ways to make robots move at ever-faster speeds to help manufacturers in automotive, chemical or pharmaceutical sectors.  Some design uses for products from companies like Fanuc Robotics and Quanser. Others work as consultants in training, maintenance or programming.

Example employers:

  • Titan Medical hires engineers to commercialize robotic surgery applications.
  • AAI Canada finds new ways for intelligent mobile robots to lend a hand to police, fire departments or nuclear power plant operations.
  • Robotics researchers get jobs in industry and government agencies like the National Research Council and the Canada Space Agency.

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