Promoting industrial robotics education by curriculum, robotic simulation software, and advanced robotic workcell development and implementation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Department of Computer Science; Center for Human-Centered Computing


The rapid growth of robotics and automation, especially during the last few years, its current positive impact and future projections for impact on the United States economy are very promising. This rapid growth of robotic automation in all sectors of industry will require an enormous number of technically sound specialists with the skills in industrial robotics and automation to maintain and monitor existing robots, enhance development of future technologies, and educate users on implementation and applications. It is critical, therefore, that educational institutions adequately respond to this high demand for robotics specialists by developing and offering appropriate courses geared towards professional certification in robotics and automation. In order to effectively teach concepts of industrial robotics, the curriculum needs to be supported by the hands on activities utilizing industrial robots or providing training on robotic simulation software. Nowadays, there is no robotic simulation software available to the academic institution at no cost which limits educational opportunities. As part of the NSF sponsored project, team of faculty members and students from Michigan Tech are developing new, open source "RobotRun" robotic simulation software which will be available at no cost for adaptation by the other institutions. This will allow current concepts related to industrial robotics to be taught even in locations without access to current robotics hardware. In addition, to teach emerging concepts of robotics, automation, and controls, authors present the design and development the state-of-the-art robotic workcell consisting of 3 FANUC industrial robots equipped with robotic vision system, programmable logic controller, a conveyer and various sensors. The workcell enables the development and programing of various industry-oriented scenerious and therefore provide students with the opportunity of gaining skills that are relevant to current industry needs.

Publication Title

2017 Annual IEEE International Systems Conference