Online lecture and course library The Great Courses is now offering its own program on robotics. The Robotics course offers 24 half-hour lectures on robot technology by John Long, professor of cognitive science at Vassar College. The course offers a view of what’s happening now in robot development and covers a wide swath of robotics deployment, from medical to military.
Great Courses created Robotics as part of an effort to cover emerging technology. “This course is part of an ongoing strategy to create more courses in cutting-edge areas of science,” Ed Leon, chief brand officer of The Great Courses, told Design News. “This topic has begun to reach a crescendo in the news press in terms of how robotics is affecting nearly every aspect of daily life, as well as being a flashpoint of debate regarding its implications for productivity, economics, jobs, and scientific breakthroughs.”
Long defines robots liberally, including technologies such as drones and self-driving cars in the category.That’s fair given that much of the technology and motion control tools used to manipulate drones and self-driving cars is also used in factory or medical robots.
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Long's lectures spend less time on the history of robots and the future of robotics. Instead he focuses on developments we’ve seen in recent years. In that approach, Robotics is very comprehensive, examining a wide variety including swarm robots, hospital robots, neuroprosthetics, as well as underwater robots. He also spends considerable time looking at the technology behind robotics, from sensors and actuators to controllers and programming. All in all, a pretty tidy overview in 12 hours.
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Leon believes Robotics will be used to gain a better understanding of where robotics is now and how it will affect human life in the future. “The time had come to create a comprehensive course teaching what robotics is, how it is being used and even how we should think about its future role in civilization as a whole,” said Leon.
The Great Courses presents video and audio course in online, digital, and disc formats. Topics cover world knowledge by professional educators. The Great Courses library includes more than 530 titles with more than 7,000 hours and 14,000 lectures covering science, economics, mathematics, the arts and more.
The course, which was released last month, comes on four DVDs and is also available in streaming. The cost of the program ranges in price from $169 (Amazon) to $269 (Great Courses site) depending on outlet.