Scott: And now, Tom is here with a What Next segment for us.
Tom: Yeah, Scott. And today we are taking a look at what is next after high school. And if you are into futuristic robot stuff, well, we have got the right career for you. Check it out.
If you are dreading shoveling snow this winter, then SnoBot is for you.
Ethan Klein: Here we have hooked up with a wheelchair base with the plow attached to the front. And it has a remote control module attached to the button underneath the blue box there. And we have a remote control you can drive it around with.
Tom: This robot can clear snow from your driveway with the push of a button. And it was built by students at Wausau West High School in Wisconsin. It is an idea that started as a brainstorming session and has ended up being a huge success.
Theran Peterson: We ran a capstone engineering class called engineering design and development, and in there I asked the students to come up with real-world solutions for problems in their life. And one of the groups decided that they wanted to pursue some sort of remote control snowplow project.
Tom: But these students are doing more than just building a robot, they are also preparing for the future. From vacuums to manufacturing to underwater explorers, robots are taking over. And according to the Department of Labor, the number of robotic engineering jobs is expected to grow 7% to 13% in the next five years.
Noah Hessel: It led me to realize that I want to be a computer scientist. So, it’s been a really neat opportunity for me, and something I definitely appreciate.
Tom: So, what comes next for these students? To get into the field of robotics, students should take math and science courses in high school, and work toward degrees in computer science, mathematics or mechanical engineering in college. But most importantly, the field requires vocational experience, or hands-on, specialized skills in the field. Students can get this experience through internships and projects just like the students at Wassau West. And getting the skills definitely pays off. The median wage for robotic engineers in 2010 was about $90,000, and about $100,000 for computer scientists. And the demand for both of these fields is only going to grow.
Now that the prototype is complete, the students have been given a $10,000 grant to improve the robot. And they will travel to MIT in Boston to show it off next June. It is the trip of a lifetime for the students.
Student: It’s great. It’s a great opportunity, once in a lifetime. And it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
Tom: Tom Hanson, Channel One News.