Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use educational affordances of robotics to create CS-STEM opportunities for all learners

SMART Robotics Technician Curriculum

The SMART Robotics Technician Curriculum is the result of a research project funded by the ARM Institute, called the Smart Manufacturing and Advanced Robotics Training (SMART) Project. SMART consists of five micro-certification courses that focus on the Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes (KSA) that are needed for Robotics Technicians in the Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics industry. The KSA was identified through research which involved interviewing and observing Robotics Technicians in the industry to ask questions like:

  1. What skills do you need?
  2. What tools do you use?
  3. What does your day-to-day look like?
  4. What kind of teammate would you like to have working alongside you?

Hiring managers were also interviewed to understand what type of workers they look for to join their company. Click here to learn more about SMART


The SMART program consists of five micro-certification courses (estimated 40 hours each, 200 hours total):

Interested in Implementing the program? We have an Implementer's Guide that contains the overview of the program, course descriptions, links to needed materials, and some expectations. 

Link: View Course on CS2N

Materials/Platform Options: VEX V5 Robotics Kit [View Full Materials List]

Description: This course focuses on mechanical concepts like structural design, weight distribution, drivetrains, fastening, speed and torque which are important to understand to be successful as a Robotics Technician. This track takes you through learning the foundational skills needed to understand how things come together and use cases for different ways to create motion. 

Mechanical Foundations includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Strength, Stability, and Balance
  • Unit 2: Motors, Transmissions, and Mechanical Advantage
  • Unit 3: Drivetrains

Link: View Course on CS2N

Materials/Platform Options: Arduino Uno [View Full Materials List]

Description: This course focuses on the foundational concepts around basic electricity and how circuits work. In this course, you learn how to use multimeters to measure various parts of a circuit to learn about concepts such as voltage and current. Along with learning about circuits, you also learn how to control signals using a microcontroller (inputs and outputs) to see how components react to it. Students learn how to utilize binary sensors like Limit Switches, and sensors that give you a wide range of values like an Ultrasonic/Distance sensor. The culminating project is an e-panel consisting of all of the components found in a typical robot.

Electrical Foundations includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Wiring and Circuits
  • Unit 2: Voltage: Parallel and Series Circuits
  • Unit 3: Voltage and Current: Motors
  • Unit 4: Controlling Signals
  • Unit 5: Sensors
  • Unit 6: E-Panel

Link: View Course on CS2N

Materials/Platform Options: Hand Tools [View Full Materials List]

Description: This course introduces students to be able to use hand tools to cut, drill, and file down material to create a robot chassis and motor mount. It also introduces additive manufacturing (3D printing) to create a sensor mount. The skills taught include safety, basic measurement, reading and interpreting drawings, basic hand tool use, and handling materials.

Fabrication Foundations includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Fabricating a Chassis
  • Unit 2: Fabricating a Motor Mount
  • Unit 3: 3D Printing


Materials/Platform Options: ShieldBot, VEX V5 [View Full Materials List: ShieldBot, VEX V5]

Description: This course is an introduction to programming concepts using one of the available popular robotics platforms (ShieldBot with Arduino, VEX V5). Recipients of this certification have demonstrated an understanding of the robotics engineering process through repeated planning, testing, and iteration throughout the units. Students also learn basic robot movement, using feedback from different kinds of sensors, and creating complex programs using loops and decision-making logic.

Software Foundations includes topics in the following sequence (Units slightly vary depending on robotics platform choice):

  • Testbed
  • Open Loop Navigation
  • Sensing
  • Camera Navigation
  • Camera Programming

Link: View Course on CS2N

Materials/Platform Options: Shield-Bot [View Full Materials List]

Description: This course introduces learners to experiencing situations where technicians may receive a large industrial system that requires assembly and installation. The learner will "unpack and test" and "test navigation programming" over the course of the units.

Robotics Integration includes the following topics:

  • Unit 1: Testbed
  • Unit 2: ShieldBot Open-Loop Navigation
  • Unit 3: ShieldBot Camera Navigation

SMART Partners

Project Leads

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Industry Partners

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Government, Public & Private

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