Robotics: when innovation goes hand in hand with well-being
Coding a robotic arm and valuing human activities
“The project I am working on is aimed at creating flexible solutions for the logistics sector. Our developments enable robotic arms to sort products and organise stocks and deliveries for e-commerce companies. As a software developer, my job is to program new functions that can be implemented in these robots”.
So Marina is one of the human intelligences behind the behaviour of all these robots that correctly prepare orders placed online and send them to their recipients. “Together with the team, we test the robots and then deploy them to the customers. When we talk about new functions, we mean that we teach the robot to behave in the presence of people, to make movements such as picking up products and putting them on the conveyor belt to reach the production line. But also, for example, to integrate new equipment, such as a vacuum gripper designed to carry particularly heavy objects…”
Marina emphasises the important impact her work has on the quality of the working life of logistics operators: “Thanks to the robots we develop, people can avoid tasks that are too dangerous, sometimes painful and often very time-consuming. So these robotic arms really help operators in their daily work, by saving them the physical effort and allowing them to focus on other value-added tasks, thus improving their well-being at work!”. Marina is very proud of the fact that she can help with this. “I feel that I am contributing to a form of progress in our society”.
Marina is the first female engineer working on this project, but certainly not the last!
In the future, Marina hopes to work as a system architect to get a more global view of robot systems, to better understand the technical interactions between hardware and software, and therefore to appreciate the results of her work even more. “Seeing a robot perform the functions I helped develop at a customer’s site is very satisfying in itself, but fully understanding how everything comes together at the system level would be even more satisfying!”.
This love of technology, which Marina felt at a very young age when she began to take an interest in how machines work, surprised some colleagues when she became the first female expert to join the project! “The perception of society is changing,” she stresses. “I quickly felt comfortable in my role because I quickly proved that I had the skills that the team and the project needed.”
What advice would she give to young girls who may be hesitant to choose technical professions?
“More and more women are joining our teams…So if you like a challenge and advanced technologies, go for it and prove that it is as much a female profession as a male one, no matter what some statistics say.
Go for it!