Playing with technology can lead kids to engineering; dustpan test

Careers in mechanical and electrical engineering start when kids have fun. For adults, volunteering can start with the dustpan test and lead to doctorate-level work in artificial intelligence, says Control Engineering blogger Paul Grayson.


Having fun putting things together opens young eyes and hearts to engineering.

A young AIM Team Friday Night Support Staff member installs one of a series of new items for testing on the AIM Team's technology demonstration vehicle, AGV WENDY DARLING, an automated guided vehicle.

Careers in mechanical and electrical engineering, science, and math start when kids have fun with engineering. Volunteering for something fun can start with the “dustpan test” and lead to doctorate-level work in artificial intelligence, according to Paul F. Grayson, chief engineer at American Industrial Magic LLC.
Grayson helps mix donated technologies with AIM Team volunteers in a race to build automated guided vehicles. Volunteers have to earn their membership on the AIM Team by doing assigned tasks and continue to do so to keep their membership.
“Depending on a person's interests and ambitions, what they can learn working here on automated guided vehicles goes all the way up to the doctorate level,” Grayson says. “For example, sponsors have supplied us with materials that allow AIM Team members to experiment with advanced artificial neural networks and apply them to the driving task. There are other equally advanced directions an AIM Team members can go in their practical education here, at no cost to the volunteer. It all starts with the dustpan test.”
In a recent post to his Control Engineering blog, AIMing for Automated Vehicles, Grayson suggests how a simple

dustpan test (read explanation here) can be important to a future in engineering

.d do. We only count the wins here, so trying something and discovering that you are not any good at it does not count against you." 
Grayson adds,
Helping the AIM Team comes in many forms, including:
-Following the

AIMing for Automated Vehicles blog

, and posting advice and tips using the TalkBack tool (link to if from your site, Grayson suggests);
-Donating technologies; and
-Lending a hand.
Related links
Subscribe to AIMing for Automated Vehicles as a RSS feed ; See Robot Club of Traverse City ; American Industrial Magic ; and

Engineering hope


- Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief
Control Engineering News Desk
Register here to select your choice of free eNewsletters .

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.