Innovation of the future: Experiences with tomorrow’s engineers


Date Thursday December 2nd 2004
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

What will tomorrow’s engineers look like? We can start by looking at today’s students.

An award-winning educator once remarked he thought students were getting dumber and dumber. He had been teaching the same thing for many years and the students seemed to be doing worse on the same tests. He tried an experiment, changed from the old lecture style of teaching to a more project based one. The students became engaged and performed even better than in previous years. While many educators realize that technology is changing rapidly, many fail to see that students are changing as well and the way we teach them must likewise adapt.

This talk will present several examples of students, ranging in age from 5 to 20, interacting with robotics projects, and their successes and failures. We will also present our theories on ways to succesfully engage these engineers of the future.


Mark Yim received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University (1994) where he started his work on Modular Self-Reconfigurable Robotics. He continued that work at PARC through August of 2004 as a Principal Scientist. During his time at PARC he developed an interest in mentoring and teaching students, getting involved in local

K-12 as well as university robotics projects. He often brought many of these students to witness and perform some of the robotics research activities - to the chagrin of some members of his team.

He has now joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania as an Associate Professor and Gabel Family Term Junior Professor, where he will further his interests in education and research in self-reconfigurable robot systems. Specifically he is focusing on high mobility mechanisms, urban search and rescue, and reconfiguring spacecraft. His other research interests include biologically inspired mechanisms, haptics for virtual reality, flying robots and meso-scale MEMs devices.

Honors include induction as a World Technology Network Fellow; IEEE Robotics and Automation Distinguished Lecturer, and induction to MIT's inaugural Technology Review TR100 in 1999. He has over 30 patents issued (several of which were recently awarded over $100 million from Sony and Microsoft) and over 50 publications.

Additional information

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