Associate Professor Donald Wlodkowic, Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Associate Professor Donald Wlodkowic, Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, School of Applied Sciences
AUDIO: Ambient Music
VISUAL: Associate Professor Donald Wlodkowic in a robotics workshop, speaking to camera.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: I became fascinated with robotics because robotics, in a way, amalgamates many disciplines.
VISUAL: Four legged robot walking along the ground in a crab like way.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: I’m a biologist but then I have evolved into bioengineerand have evolved into mechatronics specialist.So the journey allowed me to blend differentdisciplines together to develop something unique.
VISUAL: Associate Professor Donald Wlodkowic back in workshop.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: Robots are unique pieces of technology that blend different disciplinesso that’s why they fascinate me so much.Not only the process of creation of thembut also application of robotics,let it be saving lives or simplify everyday tasks.This is what excites me most.
VISUAL: Students at a computer in the workshop and working with Associate Professor Donald Wlodkowic on a robot.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: So when I found out that I received a VC Fellowship;that’s a fantastic opportunity, unique in many respects.We academics are always busy with administration, teaching;a Fellowship gives me an opportunity to do what I really love to doand to concentrate and to dedicate my timetowards my facility, my students and my projects. For instance, we work on bio-inspired robots of insects or lizards andwe try to build all-terrain vehicles that are multi-legged.The reason why is that a lot of all-terrain vehicles that is being used bylaw enforcement or military or search and rescue is based reallyon tractor-wheeled vehicles that have a limited cross-country capability.
VISUAL: A small wheeled robot being driven by a student via remote control.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: So our core interest is in search and rescue. For instance, robots that can crawl or move into areas that are inaccessible to fire fighting crews ordoing search and rescue operations after earthquakesor after collapse of mines. Other applications, fire fighting. For instance, bush fire orfire fighting of extremely hazardous chemical storage plants orchemical production plants or vehicles like tankers. So in a way we are slowly getting to a future wheremany dangerous tasks will be possible to be done remotelyby the operator based in a secure environment and at the same time robots will be disposable, in a way,if the robot cannot return; the loss of the robot is nothing compared to the loss of human life.
VISUAL: Associate Professor Donald Wlodkowic working with students, images of various machinery and computer parts.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: This work encompasses mechanics, as I said; fabrication technologist, for instance, a very innovative additive manufacturing technologies;laser cutting of polymers or plasma cutting of metal. Then all the electronic control of it. Robotic actuators and then integration and embedded control of the whole package.So I strongly feel that our research is unique but at the same timeblends very well with the already established framework at RMIT.So in a way we can collaborate with many groups in many disciplines which is,I think, beneficial not only for us but also for RMIT.
VISUAL: Gloved hand showing small robot with four spinning propellers.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: It’s all about a critical mass of innovation and facilitiesand like-minded people working in the same environment.
VISUAL: Propellered robot takes flight from the ground
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: In a way, my research and development portfolio andthe core strengths of RMIT supplement each other so this is really a perfect spot.
VISUAL: Students using the remote control, images of students working at the computer and with small pieces of machinery.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DONALD WLODKOWIC SPEAKS: Looking forward, beyond the VC Fellowship, I hope to be able to spin out or start up a company.I’m really looking at very practical applications of what we do and I strongly feelthat translational research or research and development is the key,not only for my future career development or my team’s development,but also for RMIT as a university, as a corporate environment,will provide opportunities for students and for young graduates in the future also to find employment in blue chip technology industry.
VISUAL: FADE TO WHITE
TEXT ON SCREEN: RMIT University logo. www.rmit.edu.au
AUDIO: Ambient music fades out
[End of transcript]
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