Robotics field trip informs and inspires
Thayer students recently visited Boston Dynamics to see the cutting-edge robotics company firsthand and speak with the company’s engineers.
Mike Landry, director of the Hanflig Technology Center, led his Robotics II and Robotics III classes on the informative tour; the purpose of the field trip was to expose current Robotics students to the variety of elements and departments which contribute to the production of robots at one of the most recognized names in the industry. Students were met by engineers in the electrical and mechanical disciplines and learned about each member’s contributions to the production cycle of various robots. Students also had the opportunity to learn how those engineers came to achieve their roles with the company.
After meeting with the electrical and mechanical engineers, the tour continued to the company’s department of software development with a focus on the software which drives the Spot quadruped robot many have become familiar with over the last few years. Students not only spoke with members of the programming teams but also had the opportunity to drive Spot through a testing environment; there, the students learned about the various iterations the Spot design had undergone to reach its current version.
One of the most valuable lessons students learned during the Boston Dynamics visit was that in order to push the boundaries of robotics and machine learning, these engineering and programming teams had to be willing to fail as well as adapt to unforeseen challenges. Each department member who spoke with Thayer’s robotics students echoed the same message: no one has all the answers, and the learning process is ever-present in this field of work.
Headquartered in Waltham, Boston Dynamics is the global leader in developing and deploying highly mobile robots capable of tackling the toughest robotics challenges.
Tackling their own engineering and programming challenges, Thayer’s robotics students developed their own classroom version of Spot and have the video evidence to prove it.