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In Focus: MarketWatch Radio Covers WPI's Robotics Major

David Cyganski

04/03/2007

"Robots aren't just for assembly lines or science fiction anymore," notes Steve Potisk, host of MarketWatch, a service of Dow Jones, in a story about the growing importance of robotics in our daily lives. Potisk's interview with David Cyganski, professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI, was carried on 240 radio stations across the country, including stations in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Prominently mentioned in the story is the fact that WPI will begin offering the nation's first bachelor's degree program in robotics engineering this fall. The new major grows out of an increasing demand for robots and robotics systems to meet national needs in such areas as defense and security, elder care, automation of household tasks, customized manufacturing, and interactive entertainment, and also responds to the escalating interest in robots among young people.

In the program, to be offered jointly by the Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering departments, students will receive a firm grounding in the fundamentals of these three fields, and will learn to apply them to design and build robots and robotic systems for a wide variety of emerging applications. Graduates will be well prepared for careers and for graduate work in the field.

The robotics engineering program will draw on the expertise of more than 20 associated faculty and staff members and capitalize on the university's involvement in high-profile robotics competitions over the past 15 years. Since 1992, WPI has sponsored a team in the international robotics competition organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which was created by WPI alumnus Dean Kamen, founder and president of DEKA Engineering and Development Corp., in Manchester, N.H., and inventor of the Segway Human Transporter.