I am a professor of neural engineering who has been working on the development of more effective solutions to restore sensory-motor function in disabled people for (almost) twenty years.
I think I can represent a good example of how watching TV and reading comics is not necessarily bad. As a teenager I was crazy about TV shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, movies such as Star Wars or Marvel comics…I liked (like) technology, cyborgs etc.
Then, I saw a TV program about a robotics lab led by Paolo Dario, professor at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA) working on “bionics” and I tried to join. I was accepted as Master student and then PhD student. This was the start of a long and fruitful collaboration, a passionate adventure.
We participated in the first “Future and Emerging Technologies” (FET) Call…and we got an EU project called CYBERHAND…this was a dream come true!!
Are you amazed at the things that have been achieved in medical robotics in recent decades? We are starting having an impact but the future will be even brighter we will be able to significantly improve the quality of life of disabled people.
You always seem to have a positive outlook on life, what is your secret? I never give up…I have a strong faith in the future…but it is not always so simple!
What advice for those who would like to consider studying robotics in the future? Try to look for multi-disciplinarity but at the same time be extremely solid in one or two core disciplines.
and to those who which to follow an academic path? Work very hard and try to find your own “niche”…your own vision…and then fight for it.