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In an encore episode, Steve interviews Ken Stafford, director of of WPI's Robotics Resource Center and associate director of WPI's Robotics Engineering Program. They talk about the present and future of robotics in business and society.
Whether the goal is to relieve human workers of exhausting and repetitive tasks, increase productivity and efficiency, or take people out of harm’s way, robotics plays an integral role in all aspects of manufacturing, medicine, and more. And it will take on even greater importance in the future.
In fact, the demand for qualified robotics engineers is poised to grow by as much as 13 percent through 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
WPI is the first university in the nation to offer a bachelor's degree program in Robotics Engineering--- and first to offer MS and PhD degrees. As a result, WPI is committed to providing hands-on, practical education to tomorrow’s robotics engineers.
Ken came to WPI in 1994 as the department head of Aerospace Studies. Shortly after his retirement as a U.S. Air Force colonel in 1997, he was hired to manage several WPI student-design competition teams. One of them was the WPI/Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science FIRST robotics team. This team has since grown to become one of the most popular student activities at WPI and has received more than 60 local, regional, and international awards and trophies -- including the 2007 World Championship.
Ken was also a member of the WPI interdisciplinary team that developed the school’s Robotics Engineering curriculum and established its bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degree programs in robotics engineering. He is shown, far right, posing with WPI's Robotics Team.