Educating the next generation of robotics engineers, a workshop at TC Sessions: Robotics

TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics will feature the industry’s best roboticists, technologists and investors. But what about the next generation? Everyone knows that there are not enough robotics engineers to go around, and the demand will only increase. We’ve enlisted the help of three amazing educators at the forefront of STEM and engineering education who will discuss their views on the best way to train the next generation of roboticists.

We’re excited to have David Barrett, a professor of mechanical engineering at Olin College, Ryan Keenan, curriculum lead for Udacity, and Dr. Robert McMahan, President of Kettering University, join us at TC Sessions: Robotics at MIT on July 17.

Each of these educators leads vastly different programs, but the aim is universal: to train the next generation of globally competitive engineers. It’s important that these students learn through hands-on experience how to not only write code, but deploy code in a viable manner that results in a sustainable product. And since the global robotics industry is set to expand from $34.1B to $226.2B by 2021, the need for such graduates will follow suit.

This workshop joins the packed agenda of TC Sessions: Robotics. More workshops will be announced in the coming days. General admission tickets are currently available, but seating in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium is limited. We hope to see you there.

David Barrett is a professor of mechanical engineering at Olin College where he helps train engineers for a future in the robotics world. Olin’s robotics program emphasizes building robots from day one of freshman year alongside the core engineering disciplines important to robotics. Prof. Barrett has more than 25 years experience in robotics, including VP of engineering at iRobot, director of the Walt Disney Imagineering Corporation, research engineer at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and technical director at Draper Laboratory. He has a PhD in Ocean Engineering from MIT.

Ryan Keenan is the curriculum lead for Udacity’s Nanodegree program in Robotics. He joined Udacity in 2016 to help build Udacity’s Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program. As a curriculum lead, Keenan works with engineers around the world to develop curricula and projects that provide students with hands-on experience in areas like computer vision and machine learning. Prior to joining Udacity, Keenan was a data analyst, postdoctoral fellow and Fulbright fellow. He holds a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Dr. Robert McMahan is the President of Kettering University in Flint, Mich. where he also serves as a professor of physics. Dr. McMahan came to this historical engineering, science, mathematics, and business school, named after inventor and industrialist Charles Kettering, after a stint in the public sector as a Senior Advisor to the Governor of North Carolina. Before that he was a strategist and venture capitalist for In-Q-Tel, a VC firm funded by the CIA. Dr. McMahan received undergraduate degrees in Physics and History of Art from Duke, a Ph.D in Physics from Dartmouth and served a postdoctoral appointment at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Later he founded and sold an applied physics systems research and development firm. While at Kettering University, Dr. McMahan has overseen the school’s rapid physical expansion in Flint, and recently led the school to turn the land housing an abandoned General Motors factory into an automobile test track designed in part to test autonomous vehicles.



TC Sessions: Robotics

July 17, 2017 @ MIT’s Kresge Auditorium

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM
Opening Remarks from Matthew Panzarino

9:05 AM – 9:25 AM
What’s Next at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory with Daniela Rus (MIT CSAIL)

9:25 AM – 9:50 AM
Is Venture Ready for Robotics? with Manish Kothari (SRI), Josh Wolfe (Lux Capital) and Helen Zelman (Lemnos)

10:10 AM – 10:35 AM
Collaborative Robots At Work with Clara Vu (VEO),  Jerome Dubois (6 River Systems) and Holly Yanco (UMass Lowell)

10:35 AM – 10:55 AM
Coffee Break

10:55 AM – 11:20 AM
Building A Robotics Startup from Angel to Exit with Helen Greiner (CyPhy Works), Andy Wheeler (GV) and Elaine Chen (Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship)

11:20 AM – 11:30 AM
Soft Robotics (Carl Vause) Demo

11:30 AM – 11:55 AM
Re-imagineering Disney Robotics with Martin Buehler (Disney Imagineering)

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Lunch and Workshops TBA

1:00 PM – 1:20 PM
Robots at Amazon with Tye Brady (Amazon Robotics)

1:20 PM – 1:55 PM
When Robots Fly with Buddy Michini (Airware), Andreas Raptopoulos (Matternet) and Anil Nanduri (Intel)

1:55 PM – 2:15 PM
Bringing Robots Home with Colin Angle (iRobot)

2:15 PM – 2:35 PM
Building Better Bionics Samantha Payne (Open Bionics) and TBA

2:35 PM – 2:45 PM
Demo TBA

2:45 PM – 3:05 PM
The Future of Industrial Robotics with Sami Atiya (ABB)

3:05 PM – 3:25 PM
Coffee Break

3:25 – 3:35 PM
Demo TBA

3:35 PM – 4:15 PM
Robotics Startup Pitch-off (Judges and contestants TBA)

4:15 PM – 4:35 PM
The Age Of The Household Robot with Gill Pratt (Toyota Research Institute)

4:35 PM – 4:55 PM
Building The Robot Brain with Heather Ames (Neurala) and Brian Gerky (Open Robotics) and TBA

4:55 PM – 5:20 PM
Robots, AI and Humanity with David Barrett (Olin), David Edelman (MIT) and Dr. Brian Pierce (DARPA) and TBA

5:20 PM – 5:25 PM
Wrap Up 

5:25 PM -7:00 PM