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Robotics Educational Activities in Portugal: A Motivating Experience [Education]

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Portugal has considerable activity in robotics compared to the relatively small size of its population. Several groups from different universities and companies carry out research and development activities in industrial and service robotics, actively participate in European Commission and ESA-funded projects, and regularly publish papers in major robotics journals and conferences. This intense activity has motivated significant promotion of robotics to the citizens in general and the youngsters in particular. Portugal, as other European countries, is suffering from a lack of attractiveness to science and technology (S&T) by young people, namely high school students. Though job offers are high in these areas, students consider the subjects somewhat boring and too hard, and they frequently show a considerable information deficit about what is taught in programs like those related to electrical, electronic, and computer engineering. Robotics is an ideal vehicle for changing that attitude, due to the multidisciplinary and hands-on nature of the involved work, not to mention the strong fascination caused by the concept of building intelligent machines.

Published in:

Robotics & Automation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 2 )