In 2007, Worcester Polytechnic Institute became the first university in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree program in the emerging field of robotics engineering.
The university’s pioneering program is also the first to receive accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the organization that accredits engineering programs nationwide.
“The institution took the lead to establish the first undergraduate program specifically designed to prepare a new breed of engineers with the cross-disciplinary skills and the business savvy needed to drive the emerging robotics industry.” – Eric Overstram provost
The board commended the Institute among the departments of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, which jointly established the bachelor of science program.
“By its nature, robotics engineering is highly interdisciplinary because robots consist of electrical and mechanical systems, including motors, servos, cameras, and other actuators and sensors, controlled by sophisticated algorithms and computational technology.” – Michael Genner computer science professor
The board also highlighted the enthusiasm of students for the robotics engineering program.
In addition to building its academic offerings in robotics engineering, the university has expanded its educational and research capabilities in robotics engineering, adding new tenure-track faculty members with expertise in different areas
These include surgical robots, human-robot interactions, robot learning, navigation, and manipulation, and intelligent mechatronic and embedded systems; developed new laboratory and teaching spaces to support the degree programs.
In 2011, Worcester Polytechnic Institute was selected by NASA to manage the Sample Return Robot Challenge, one of the agency’s Centennial Challenge prize competitions developed to help inspire innovative solutions to technical challenges in the aerospace industry.
This is the first time that NASA has partnered with a university to manage a Centennial Challenge. The contest is expected to bring hundreds of competitors from industry and academia to campus next spring to compete for a prize purse of $ 1.5 million.