In his Labor Day remarks, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said, “Let’s also look to the future and commit to prepare the talent of tomorrow.” Was he referring to a very unusual “worker” who was with him as he led 30,000 state residents in walking across the famous Mackinac Bridge on the holiday?
This worker is unusual because he does not take a salary or benefits and never takes a sick or vacation day. No, he’s not a trust-fund baby or workaholic—“he’s” a robot!
And this robot is not alone in exemplifying the worker of the future because Michigan plays a big part in the fast-growing U.S. robotics industry, according to the governor’s blog.
The worker, whose name is Pi, was created by a FIRST Robotics team at the International Academy of Macomb (IAM) in Armada, Michigan, specifically for the bridge walk. The robot, which was accompanied by the team, teacher/advisors, and mentors, can go up to 10 miles per hour and had no trouble making the 5-mile bridge walk.
FIRST Robotics also helps students develop critical career skills needed for future jobs in robotics and the STEM fields. At IAM, the robotics teams are said to participate in “the varsity sport for the mind.” Many team graduates are going on to study engineering and science at top colleges.
Michigan has 278 FIRST Robotics teams, more than any other state in the country. The program has been supported by state funding. Many Michigan companies provide space, tools, and expertise to help the teams.