A roboticist designs, builds, programs, and experiments with robots. Since robotics is a highly interdisciplinary field, roboticists often have backgrounds in a number of disciplines including computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer engineering. Roboticists often work for university, industry, and government research labs, but may also work for startup companies and other entrepreneurial firms. Amateur Roboticist is also a growing hobby all over the world.

Science, Engineering, Art, and Invention

Robotics is unusual in combining elements of science, engineering, and art. Many roboticists are also deeply involved in the creative arts such as literature, drama, music, and film. Some roboticists have a background in the arts and are drawn to robotics as a medium for expression. The term robotics is said to have been coined by Isaac Asimov. Three Laws of Robotics.

Work in robotics more closely resembles invention rather than pure science or pure engineering. Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. Engineering is the design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. Invention is about creating something new, often at the boundaries of scientific and technological knowledge.

Robotics Development

As with all technological projects, the specific processes used in robotics development vary depending on the individuals and institutions involved. However, a key feature of most successful robotics efforts is the use of early prototyping and exploratory development of potential solutions.


Both roboticists and systems engineers build complex systems with many interacting subsystems, but roboticists often use strategies that are very different from those used in traditional systems engineering. Systems engineering and software engineering methodologies devote large amounts of time and effort to formalizing requirements, specifications, and designs prior to implementation. To some extent, spiral development techniques attempt to address the uncertainties in system development through iterative processes, but the time required for each spiral is often measured in years.


In robotics, the interactions between mechanical, electrical, and software systems and the complexities of the real world are highly unpredictable. As a result, the ability to iterate quickly through potential solutions is highly valued by roboticists. Often, roboticists discover that the problems they are trying to solve are either much easier than expected, resulting in faster progress, or much harder -- requiring that they experiment with many different potential techniques before finding a suitable solution.

While systems engineering is a mainstay of the modern aerospace industry, the field of robotics is more similar to the early days of flight when the Wright Brothers built their Flyer and the barnstormers performed aviation feats to introduce the public to the wonders of flight. In robotics development, as in the early days of flight, the common approach is "Let's try it and see if it works."

Robotic Hobbies

The Robo-One games in Japan and the Robogames in the US have inspired a new growing hobby of kit built or home built and designed robots. Many of the advances in robotics are occurring in people's home garages and workshops like the early days of aviation or computers.

Robotics Careers

As of 2004, the robotics industry is booming as new applications become practical for consumer, military, industrial, entertainment, medical, space, and search and rescue robots. Thanks to high school robotics programs the first generation of students who grew up building robots is entering the workforce. The field of robotics continues to grow, attracting individuals who enjoy building complex systems in an environment that places a premium on creativity, exploring new ideas, and advancing the state-of-the-art in technology.

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