Robotics is the study of robots interacting in the physical world through sensing, perception, planning, and interacting. However, robotics is about about so much more than just a robot. This presentation will highlight the many aspects of robotics which makes it an intriguing field for people of all ages. First of all, robotics is a wonderful tool for showing connections between science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). Robotics affords multidisciplinary teamwork to enable students to improve professional skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. Robotics is ideal for recruiting more people to STEM by getting them excited by the possibilities of what their minds and hands can create. A byproduct of bringing more people to STEM is that robotics can help to diversify the profession. It is extremely important that the STEM community reflect the diversity of the world that we live in because multidisciplinary and diverse teams create the best solutions to problems. Lack of diversity on teams can yield to products that that suffer from bias. There have been several examples of this in the news media recently. Human-robot interaction is the study of understanding, designing and evaluating how humans engage with robots. The future of robotics technology is closely tied to effective and efficient communication between humans and robots. Ideally this communication should be free of gender or racial inequity and bias. This presentation will highlight the various aspects of the field of robotics which makes it a gamechanger in STEM, diversity, equity and society.
Carlotta Berry is a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. At Rose, she worked with colleagues to create the multidisciplinary minor in robotics and Rose Building Undergraduate Diversity Program. Her research interests are in engineering education, robotics education and human-robot interaction. She has several publications, grants, and service projects on robotics and diversifying STEM.