Harnessing the potential of robotics industry

Mohammad Asaduzzaman Chowdhury | Published: August 13, 2018 21:40:54 | Updated: August 14, 2018 21:18:41

Industries and factory owners do not have in  many cases confidence in the capacity of local experts and the universities. They often hire foreign experts to get their technical and/or technological problems solved. So it is necessary to build confidence between the industries and the universities having research facilities. A national committee can be formed to establish a tripartite link between the industries, the universities and the government.

This will also facilitate innovation and development where robotics can perhaps play a crucial part. Robotics industry is regarded as an innovative concept and countries around the world are promoting it. The US National Robotics Engineering Centre (NREC) and the Robotics Society of India (RSI), for example, work for the development of this industry in the US and India respectively. On the other hand, there is at present no significant research on robotics even at the university level here.

But there is potential for development of robotics in Bangladesh. Robotics is taught in a few educational institutions. Promising youths sporadically develop robots. Such robots, however, hardly serve any useful purpose or can be treated as innovation. Such energies need to be organised.

The research work currently on robotics is about artificial intelligence, functionality, mobility, sensor detection, and especially, robotic vision and control system. Robots are being used in industrial units, pharmaceutical industries, military, space exploration, organ transplantation, mineral resource search under the ocean, and personal work. Robotics is also being applied to medical treatment.

Robotics-related fundamental research has the opportunity to get published in a high-quality journal like Nature and Science. Apart from this, the study on robotics can be further developed by publishing important and basic research in magazines and other journals. Apart from obtaining patent rights of the new concepts, ownership rights can be preserved, which are genuinely respectable and dignified. Sales of various types of industrial robots made in the US will increase around 300 per cent in less than a decade. Robotics Industries Association has said that the sales of robots have marked more than 40 per cent rise in the US compared to four years ago.

The robots that are being developed in our country nowadays only show the level of curiosity, interest and effort. But there seems to have no planned initiative for commercial production of robots here. In many cases, robots are being copied following tutorials downloaded from YouTube. But there is some difference: low-cost domestic raw materials are used for locally-made robots and these are created by non-sophisticated equipment.

A robot industry policy can be adopted quickly to facilitate a modern, profitable and growing concept in the industrial sector

Of late, a 'Robot Restaurant' has been opened in Dhaka city. The robots deployed there have been brought from abroad. The youths of Bangladesh have been able to create a number of robots on experimental basis. The young university students should now pay attention to the operational side of robotics.

Robotics industry is yet to take a proper shape in Bangladesh. The main reason for this is that there is still no organisation in our country like the US National Robotics Engineering Centre or the Robotics Society of India. Bangladesh should also establish a national robotics research society for development and innovation in the field.

Professor Dr. Mohammad Asaduzzaman Chowdhury is Head of Industrial & Production Engineering Department and Registrar (Additional Charge) at Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology (DUET), Gazipur.


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