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Supporting Future Engineers through Robotics

December 3, 2018

Robotics is the next technological revolution. Fiber optics, cables, and chips are shaping and directing our future. Here, we review some robotic milestones and take a peek into Lam’s commitment to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and robotics philanthropic activities.

The Rise of Robots

World War II represented a leap forward in technology. With a backlog of consumer savings and demand for new goods, companies were encouraged to expand facilities and improve productivity. As the American industry marched into peacetime production, national attention centered on the car industry. UNIMATE, a digitally operated and programmable machine, funded by General Motors, responded to the growing pressure of industrial process and productivity improvement. In 1961, UNIMATE joined GM’s assembly line to weld car bodies and take die castings from machines. The robot’s introduction doubled the rate of any car plant in existence and motivated other automobile companies to commit resources to robotics, bolstering the field.

Era of the Robots

By the 1980s, billions of dollars were invested into automating assembly line tasks in various industries around the world. In comparison to early versions, which performed basic functions such as pick and place, this third generation of robots saw machines that could be reprogrammed with controllers. With robots permeating into several industrial sectors, especially those with safety concerns, users were enthusiastic to create their own.

Supporting Future Robotics Engineers

With the introduction of single board computers (SBCs), millions of users could create robots easily. In response to the continued growth in popularity of robotics, Lam Research has continued to contribute to local, national, and international programs that engage robotics education through its charitable giving organization, the Lam Research Foundation.

Lam Research Taiwan STEM Program

This year, Lam Research Taiwan collaborated with the National Science and Technology Museum in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in a bid to inspire children’s imagination and cultivate their passion for technology.

Throughout the summer, our “Robotic Workshop” educated more than 130 students in artificial intelligence and robotics. With 12 Lam employees supporting this activity, students had the opportunity to gain mBOT robot hands-on experience and explore the mBlock graphical programming language. In July, we took our “Robotic Workshop” to a junior high school in Hsinchu, Taiwan, in an effort to expand robotics knowledge to other parts of the country.

Students from remote areas were invited to our “Robotic Experience and Museum Exploration” activity to explore the internet of things and artificial intelligence exhibits in the museum.

September marked the end of our collaboration with the National Science and Technology Museum. With a final activity encouraging students to embrace science and technology education, we hope we left them feeling inspired and ready to further explore their STEM interests.

 

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