Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2021

Academic Department

Engineering and Physics

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Tomas Estrada and Mark Gatti


Automation has become a term to symbolize many different movements in today’s world. It could represent anything from the blind, preprogrammed robotic arm in an automotive assembly plant to the increasing prevalence of driverless cars on the road. It could be used as a word of praise in the chase of more efficiency and optimization, or as a curse against the aspect of the obsolescence of humans as their roles are rendered redundant by robotic laborers. However, the lack of clarity of the term stems from a lack of understanding about its historical connotations, precisely how it applies today, and what it might mean in the future. I believe that we can draw from examples in the past and apply their lessons to the present to determine the best possible course for the future. The history of robotics, and more broadly the increase in optimization that led to their development, will provide the backdrop of the grand drama by which the present will play out. The current state of the field will provide the context for much of the analyses of how the future should play out. The future will be conjectured into a few key paths, all of which are possible and plausible. It is a matter of what is done now that will determine what path will be the most likely. Before the future is set, let’s examine how the present came to be.


Honors Senior Thesis; Honors in the Discipline; EGR 401 Senior Project in Engineering I; EGR 402 Senior Project in Engineering II; Scholarship and Creative Arts Day (SCAD)

Included in

Robotics Commons