The Future is Here: UWG Introduces Robotics Studies

UWG started a new independent study program for Management Information Systems for graduate students.  

 iPhones, smartwatches, google speakers and other technologies breakthrough in people’s lives. Robotics is another section of the Internet of Things (IoT). Interconnected computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, different types of objects and even animals and people have an ability to transfer information over a network without actual participation. Engineers call this process the Internet of Things.  

 IoT can be used not only for data collection but also for learning and teaching for the benefit of mankind. Teaching with robots is getting very popular. They work in favor of science and people, for example, they collect needed data around a specific area, send videos and take pictures of the people behind the monitors.  

 Jeannie Pridmore, Associate Professor at UWG and Graduate Program Director, had a long path before she got an opportunity to do what she is doing now – teaching engineering and programming students. She understood that engineering is the future while she was getting her bachelors degree at Auburn University, majoring in chemical engineering. After graduation, she went to Troy University and got her masters in business administration and her Ph.D. in management of information technology. This is when she got a chance to share her knowledge to the younger generation.  

This is the first time weve used IoT in our program, management of information systems,” said Pridmore. 

Pridmores leadership skills helped her create a new, up-to-date program for graduate students and give them an opportunity to learn how to program, understand robotics behavior and control them. 

This is our first semester, and we are just learning how to program robots,” said Pridmore.  

This semester, robotics is an independent class for graduate students but it is going to be an actual class starting summer semester this year 

We are rebuilding our networking in security classes,” said Pridmore. We are trying to look out at the industry and we see it is going to be a future demand for our students to have skills and understanding and knowledge with and IoT.”  

Networking systems is an increasingly popular field. Almost every big company needs an IoT professional with experience, and this is what Pridmore is giving to her students – an opportunity to learn.   

We work on learning how to build, program and network robots through special programming programs,” said Pridmore. 

It is important to program a robot the right way because this is what is responsible for its behavior and keeps it functioning without troubles. For example, a robot that has been programmed wrong will not be able to drive without collision with different subjects on its way.  

Students build robots themselves,” said Pridmore. It takes about two hours to build them. 

Building robots is not the hardest part, but it is the most fun. A special 3D printer helps to print faces and license plates for robots. Before the next semester, Pridmore will get a more powerful printer which will help her students to try everything that engineers do in the professional field.  

Our robots are prototypes of cartoon characters, such as WALL – E and RoboCop,” said Mrs. Pridmore. We have 10 robots for now, but we still need to program most of them. 

Programming is one of the hardest parts for students.  

We use special IoT programming languages on robots,” said Mrs. Pridmore. Python is one of the most popular programming languages. 

Programming languages are what keeps the robot functioning. Through this program, a person sitting behind the screen can create a list of commands for the robot.  

We install drivers for the sensors because we have digital cameras that can stream videos and take pictures as it travels, so we can collect data as it goes on different adventures,” said Pridmore. 

It is a long and hard process of programming a robot, but Pridmore intends to succeed. She visits different conferences to better learn how to teach student, such as one which was given by the City of Atlanta about how they use IoT. Everything she learns she gives to her students, and they also share their knowledge with her. Teamwork and the desire to learn and create is what helps them to build a well-functioning robot. 

One day, our robots will drive around UWG campus, and students will be able to see our hard work,” said Pridmore.  




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