23 September 2016

Engineering“Surrounded by a pretty little sergeant,
Another morning at an early crawl.
And from the other side of my apartment,
An empty room behind the inner wall.
A thousand pictures on the kitchen floor,
Talked about a hundred years or more.”

No, these are not the words of a new lyricist or a retro beat poet, these lines were “penned” by a robot.

And everyone, from financial traders to bank tellers and journalists to pharmacists, could have their work eroded by the emerging capacity of robots and artificial intelligence.

A variety of independent technological advances in batteries, power electronics, motors, sensors, processors, artificial intelligence and other fields has created an environment where next generation robotics is surging ahead and solving a wide variety of problems that old fashioned industrial robots could not possibly have solved.

UniSA Head of School for Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Andy Koronios, says all young people should be familiarising themselves with the power of engineering and information technology because every career will be touched by these developments.

“You hear a lot of talk about ‘disruption’ and it is true that we are entering another phase of rapid technological development, a phase that will change the way we look at work, how we manage communications, and how we educate young people for future careers,” Prof Koronios says.

“Engineering and other core subjects such as maths and science are going to be very important for people who want to navigate the careers of the future.

“UniSA Engineering Week is a program we have designed so that students can learn a little bit more about how central engineering is to our everyday lives but also to tomorrow’s innovations.”

In a program of activities across all areas of engineering, designed to give enthusiastic school students the chance to experience the power of engineering in problem solving and innovation, UniSA has put the spotlight on robotics. 

And while PhD researcher and Mechatronic Engineering Student Mentor, Daniel Griffiths, doesn’t have a robot writing love poems for him just yet, he has high hopes he will see his beloved robots roaming freely in the very near future.

“I was lured into research with the promise of robots and pizza and have been working to get on the good side of the inevitable Skynet ever since,” Daniel says.

“My research focusses on using High Dynamic Range imaging in machine vision applications to allow existing robots to escape laboratories.

“At its core, engineering is entirely about solving problems and controlling situations.

“In mechatronics, it’s often the difference between a robot doing what you want it to do, and what you told it to do.  Learning how to develop sophisticated control systems is what will help to refine Robotics and make them increasing a part of everyday life.”

Year 10 Henley High School student Blake Robertson always knew engineering would be interesting but his visit to Mawson Lakes campus has confirmed his attraction.

“Engineering week has been great because I have a better idea now of how wide a field it is and how the different strands of engineering apply to different careers,” Blake says.

“I’ve learnt a lot and I have a better insight what I want to study in engineering and where I want to take my career after that.

“The robotic activities were fantastic – we played Snap with a robot. I think robotics is so ingenious and has so much potential in the future – when I get to become an engineer it’s a field I would love to work in.”

Students from the following schools have enjoyed a jammed packed program over the week culminating in final presentations and awards being presented this afternoon:

Concordia College

Endeavour College

Eynesbury Senior College

Golden Grove High School

Henley High School

Mary MacKillop College

Norwood Morialta High School

Parafield Gardens High School

Salisbury East High School

Salisbury High School

St Dominics Priory College

St Michael's

Wilderness School

Xavier College, Gawler

Media contact: Katrina McLachlan mobile: +61 0414972537 email: katrina.mclachlan@unisa.edu.au

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