When was the last time you thought about robotics being used in manufacturing? If the auto industry videos you were shown in high school come to mind, you are not alone. That was historically the most accurate depiction of robotics. However, today's robotics are breaking ground on new technologies and capabilities. The role of the robot is no longer to simply provide the brunt force in manufacturing but to extend and work with humanity to create is superior, usable, and life-sustaining solution. As the role of robotics becomes more prominent, politicians will continue to debate their usefulness and management. However, the role of robotics in manufacturing is here to stay, and manufacturers need to understand how nearly all robotic benefits can be summarized in these two aspects.
Evidence of the shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) talent in the United States is plentiful. However, in an effort to stop immigration of high-skilled STEM workers, left wing advocates argue that there is no shortage. A new twist to their argument is to claim that STEM graduates do not always go into STEM fields and therefore are not in short supply. This reasoning falls apart rapidly. First, the U.S. Census Bureau definition of STEM graduates and workers, which is used to make this argument, includes psychology and social science majors, which are not what most people think of when considering STEM occupations. But second, it ignores the glaringly obvious point that in today’s technology-driven economy, all sectors and industries-not just those classified as STEM fields-have a growing need for STEM talent.
The Innovation Enterprise. Ayah Bdeir and her five-year-old company, littleBits, have become stars of the maker movement by emphasizing simplicity and ease-of-use. The company, which makes color-coded, interchangeable parts that snap together to form ready-to-use electronic circuits, says it is all about “democratizing hardware.” littleBits’ customers—from children to other makers—use the company’s little electronic Lego-like parts to bring intelligence to everyday items, like a door bell that sends a text when it’s rung.