Robotics Engineering and IT

Robotics Engineering and IT

Robots defuse bombs, deactivate mines and explore shipwrecks, and it’s all made possible by engineering that brings together technologies from mechanical design, electronic systems, telecommunications, and computing. We call this Mechatronics.

The Mechatronics program at Macquarie combines mechanical engineering, electronic engineering and computer science to provide you with the skills needed to design and construct robots and their computer systems responsible for sensory feedback and information processing, so you can build the autonomous future.

With a heritage of innovation, such as the co-development of wi-fi, and strong relationships with leading companies in the surrounding technology precinct, Macquarie is uniquely placed to help guide curious young minds on their path to becoming leaders in an innovation economy. 

Pioneering STEM education

Macquarie has always been a progressive voice in education. Unrestrained by tradition, we continue to pioneer learning and teaching approaches that challenge convention and create transformational change. 

Our distinctive approach to learning and teaching extends to our STEM outreach strategy. With three key programs at its heart – FIRST Robotics, Big History and Opening Real Science – we are changing the way young people engage with, and learn about, the world around them.

After the summer's intensive six-week build season, the robot is shipped off to the US for us to compete with other high school students from around the world. The competitions take on the air of a football match.

As part of our responsibility to the local community, Macquarie University runs the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team for students in years 8-12.

Our FRC team, The Thunder Down Under (TDU), is focused on helping science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) be recognised in Australia as something fun and important. Through various outreach activities and initiatives, TDU is trying to help contribute to solving Australia's skills shortage. Oh, yeah... and they LOVE building and driving robots!

You may be aware of FIRST LEGO League (FLL) here in Australia and how its popularity is growing among kids aged 9-14. But, unfortunately, Australia has not previously participated with an FRC team. Well, all that is changing this Autumn ...

More information for both students and mentors is available by contacting Professor Michael Heimlich.

What is Build Season?

From the day the challenge is announced to when we have to ship the robot is Build Season. This is normally a very busy, exciting, and intensive time in the life of an FRC team. It normally runs from the second week of January for about 40 days through to the middle of February. The most important thing to know about FRC is that you only come to FRC build season meetings when you can – your family and work commitments ALWAYS come first. If your family has a summer holiday planned, go on the summer holiday. If you have to spend some extra hours at work, make sure you do them well and get the job done properly.

FRC is meant to be fun and be part of your life; it should not rule or define your life.

Macquarie has been the pioneer of FIRST Robotics in Australia, establishing the country’s first FIRST robotics team in 2009 and introducing the FIRST Tech Challenge to Australia in 2011. In recognition of our shared vision for inspiring a love of STEM, Macquarie University was granted exclusive rights to FIRST Australia in 2011.

Since then, and with the support of our partners, we have steadily expanded the program to more than 500 schools across the country, and our teams have triumphed at the world robotics championships both in 2014 and 2015.

Our success in pioneering FIRST Australia has had enormous benefits. For young people, especially those who are disadvantaged, participation in FIRST builds the confidence and skills required to pursue tertiary study. Armed with the skills to handle the complex challenges of the 21st century, thousands of students have now been inspired towards careers in science and technology.

With the generous support of a philanthropic donor, we have begun work on establishing a robotics innovation centre in Fujian Province, China. The centre will provide a facility in which robots can be designed, manufactured and tested, as well as a suite for the training of local teachers and students in robotic design and construction. 

With further investment, we will move closer to our long-term ambition: a robotics innovation centre in every province, installing technical knowledge and innovation skills in a whole generation of young Chinese.

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