New Dean Walter Martinez Helps Bob Barboza and Super School University Engineers and Scientists Create A New School of The Future
Walter A. Martinez is a full time Lead Information Systems Analyst and College of Engineering Lecturer for California State University, Long Beach. In addition, he has been appointed to be the new Dean of Super School University and he is the current President of the Robotic Society of Southern California.
Walter will help Super School University establish a new robotic research center.
After having watched Star Wars in the 1970’s while living in Honduras, Walter decided to make the world of robotics his long life passion.
While in high school Walter won several science fairs by creating robots, lasers and radios. Always having a lab at home and the support of his parents Walter was able to focus on his goal of becoming an engineer. Walter used to cut newspapers articles about NASA and science and would dream on building electronic gadgets.
The opportunity came to study in the USA and Walter enrolled at El Camino College where he completed an associate degree with emphasis in electronics and computers. At the same time he completed a correspondence course from the National Radio Institute in electronics.
Walter went on to win scholarships from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Texaco and even received a congratulations letter from NASA stating that when he was ready to graduate from college he should consider applying for a job there.
Walter Transferred to California State University, Long Beach where he became president of a student society called Instrument Society of America now called International Society of Automation. Walter worked on several projects as a student in collaboration with other student societies and competed in several competitions. Walter presented a Waldo remote robot arm manipulator at the Westec expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Westec is the largest manufacturing expo that showcases the latest innovations from the leaders in manufacturing. The Waldo Walter created was far ahead of its time and judges at that time could not see the value of controlling a robot arm from anywhere in the world using a mechanical sleeve with sensors to do manufacturing, bomb disarmament, surgery, etc. Around this same time Walter joined the Robotics Society of Southern California.
Walter graduated from CSULB with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering Technology. For his senior project Walter created a large autonomous robot with multiple sensors that has a Motorola 68HC11 and was programmed in Forth. Walter then accepted a full time position working in information technology and computer networks for CSULB. Walter always had an interest in teaching so he decided to complete a master’s degree in Occupational Studies with focus in Curriculum Development. Walter’s interest was always in the more hands on approach to teaching and learning. When Walter was completing his master’s degree Battlebots came on the scene. Walter watched with excitement how these modern day gladiators combated with each other, but there was so much technology that went into these machines. Walter applied to be a Battlebot competitor and was chosen to compete in Battlebots in San Francisco, Robotica in Hollywood and RobotWars in England. Walter created team called DreamDroid Robotics in 2000 where he competed multiple times. All of these competitions were filmed for television and appeared in television networks such as The Learning Channel, Nickelodeon, TNN and Discovery Channel. Walter learned about building large robots, power systems and radio control.
A professor from CSULB heard about Walter’s involvement with robots and offered Walter the opportunity to teach a robotics course while the professor was on sabbatical. Walter jumped on the opportunity and designed the curriculum for the class including all the labs and was a success. More and more students started to hear about the class and soon students from all engineering disciplines were taking the class. Walter started a robotics club at CSULB that builds robots for competition including Battlebots IQ where colleges compete with one another. Walter was able to get funds from different companies, the college and the International Society of Automation. During the student competition Walter’s team was able to defeat MIT and University of Florida until Cal Tech came and defeated his team. Walter also had a chance to supervise many of the student senior projects, was able to link students to industry and got many jobs and scholarships for students. Many students heard that CSULB was building robots and transferred to CSULB specifically to learn how to build robots. Student teams brainstorm, design and build their own robot following specific rules and demonstrate their engineering skills, teamwork and problem-solving abilities. Student learn advance robot control, motors, power technologies and most importantly budget management, how to present a project and group collaboration. Being that this is a multidiscipliany project students from several engineering areas were able to cooperate learn many aspects of project engineering, including: initial costing, spending analysis, design, production, and testing. Other areas will include manufacturing, materials, electronics, motors and speed controllers, microprocessor based radio control and research. Completed projects were also displayed in several events so that other students became motivated to participate. Some students received class credit as their senior project (capstone course) for their time and work. Walter also served as judge in several competitions and volunteered at a Lego League competition at Lego Land. Walter’s continued liaison with industry and the students have benefited everyone. Walter’s courses were developed to provide students with much south after job knowledge and skills in the work environment.
Currently Walter lectures on robotics and computer networks for CSULB. Students in his class study basic concepts of robot manipulators, robot kinematics, robot programming languages.
Applications of industrial robots and machine vision systems. Basic concepts of mechatronic
systems: combine hardware, software, interface, and system integration to make intelligent
systems. Sensors and actuators for mobile robotics. For the industrial part of our class the students use robot manipulators by Rhino and create a graphical interface using a high level computer languages such as C# or Visual Basic where the user can touch or click on a button to control the robot arms actuators. For the autonomous robot navigation part of class we use Parallax’s BOEbot converted to use Arduino processors interfaced with sonar, infrared or CMU camera as sensors. They are programed in a C like language. Walter’s classes also get a chance to play with Lego Mindstorms for navigation and humanoid walking robots experiments using the Robotis Bioloid platform. Network classes include using Microsoft technologies to create domains, active directory, a real network infrastructure, security plus protocol analysis and simulation using tools like WireShark and OpNet. Walter also teaches a class on computer controlled industrial systems where students look at PID loops and process automation and optimization with hands on labs using kits from Parallax.
Walter is also the president of the Robotics Society of Southern California, a nonprofit organization since the 1980’s that has special interest groups in all aspects of robotics including artificial intelligence and navigation. The society has monthly meetings and monthly contests. People from all age groups are welcome to join and participate. One hour classes on a specific topic are given by experts. Many of the popular robotics companies donate products to the society to give out as prizes for the monthly competitions.
Walter’s biggest interests and determination involve doing experiments in human-robot interaction including:
– spread awareness of robotics to the young population with the idea that they will be interested in being part of this exciting, very important and large growing field.
– Humans interacting with robots, but the robots remember the interaction with the individual and so it adjusts its interaction mode based on its previous experiences with a particular human by means of artificial intelligence
– Having an Autistic nephew has sparked interest in me to do research on how humanoid robots like Bioloid and Aldebaran’s NAO can be used to help these kids become more social with humans