The CMU Robotics Institute, with the help of a seven million dollar DARPA grant, has announced the launch of a four year educational initiative called Fostering Innovation through Robotics Exploration (FIRE). The goal is to use student interest in robotics to encourage computer science education, and to steer students toward science and engineering careers. In addition to embracing existing educational robotics competitions such as FIRST and VEX, CMU will also be creating new competitions.
The initiative will ... create new competitions for autonomous, multi-robot teams and for computer animations that will attract a broader array of students and offer new challenges.
To help, CMU is tapping robot expertise from Dallas, TX, hiring none other than Ed Paradis, current president of the Dallas Personal Robotics Group. When asked about the propsect of leaving one of the nation's top Hobby Robot Groups for CMU, he replied, "although I'm sad to leave the Dallas robotics community, this is a hobby roboticists dream job!".