Plymouth State University receives $1 million in funding for new robotics lab

Plymouth State University receives $1 million in funding for new robotics lab

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Sends $1 Million in Federal Funding to Plymouth State University (PSU) to help build a new robotics lab located on the fourth floor of the Draper & Maynard Building on the Plymouth Campus.

In the fall of 2021, PSU became the first institution in New Hampshire to offer a Bachelor of Science in Robotics degree program.

PSU President Donald L.

“This scholarship will ensure that students have the most advanced training, equipment, and tools at their disposal, providing experiential project-based learning, a central component of our unique cluster learning model,” Birx says.

“Access to this cutting-edge technology means access to an emerging job market in New Hampshire’s high-tech sector.”

Birx said robotics combines and develops many basic skills including computers, microcontrollers, sensors, networking, communications, kinetics, artificial intelligence, mechanics, design and electronics across a wide range of important disciplines.

These skills will increasingly be in demand for the massive workforce needs over the next century, and there are few programs like the Plymouth State Robotics Program in terms of broad impact on the state, businesses and students involved.

Fanuc, the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial robots, projects a shortfall of one million people in the workforce by 2027 due to a shortage of needed skills.

There is already high demand today. In the past three months, there were more than 200 robotics-related jobs in New Hampshire alone, and 4,000 in New England.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, U.S. Senator Jane Shaheen secured the funding through a Congressional directed spending request that was included in the comprehensive fiscal year 2022 spending package that was passed earlier this year.

The US Department of Commerce is the source of the funds that are allocated by NIST.

“We are very grateful to Senator Shaheen for her efforts in securing this funding for Plymouth State University,” Birx says.

Construction and equipping of the new robotics lab will begin in October, with some equipment available to students this fall. The laboratory is expected to be completed by fall 2023.

The lab is located on the top floor of the historic Draper & Maynard Building, which also houses the university’s innovative manufacturing space. The state-of-the-art 4,500-square-foot robotics lab will include space for labs, electronic benches, classrooms, and other educational spaces.

The facility will contain equipment and tools on par with the best institutions in the country, including 3D printing, laser cutting, milling, and computer numerical control (CnC) workstations.

The additional workstations will run Robot Operating Systems (ROS), ROS Visualization (rViz), and Gazebo emulators, with CUDA support for working with machine learning, such as TensorFlow. The new facility will also include Fanuc’s collaborative robotics, which are being employed in industrial environments around the world.

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