Robots come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Robots also perform many different functions and tasks. However, what is a Robot? What is not? The answer might surprise you. Find out about the many fun and exciting robots we use everyday, and some that are complex and unusual. Learn to analyze the functions, categorize, and identify different robots. Take away a better understanding of robots and how they help us be more productive and live better lives.

Today you will learn

  • What is a robot?
  • Why are robots important?
  • How do you determine whether something is a robot?
  • What are the types of robots?
  • How can you have a career in robotics?


The goal of today's presentation is to learn about the different types of robots, why they are important in today's world, what it takes to build robots, and what students can do in robotics

Speaker Bios

Mark Perez

Mark L. Perez is an Electrical Engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) specializing in automation and intelligent systems, control system theory, and robotics. Mr. Perez joined LLNL as a summer student in June 1995 supporting the automated hazardous waste inspection robotics effort. In June 1996, Mr. Perez joined LLNL as a full-time employee spearheading the Spiral Track Autonomous Robot (STAR) project. The STAR Project led to the design and development of a highly versatile low-cost mobile robot designed to operate in multiple terrains. For their efforts, his team was selected as a Finalist in the very prestigious Discover Magazine National Technical Award for Innovation in 1997. Following this project, Mr. Perez joined the National Ignition Facility (NIF) project as a lead control systems engineer helping to design the transport and handling systems of the large facility laser components. The NIF is being constructed at LLNL and will house the world’s most powerful laser (192 beams) when completed. Currently, he is a member of the NIF Integrated Computer Control Systems group where he is helping to develop the software required for the over 500 embedded control processors that will be used to control the NIF laser operations.

Mr. Perez holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (1994) from the University of California at Davis and a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering (1996) from Stanford University. Mr. Perez is also currently on leave from the Ph.D. program in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University.

Katherine Fritz

Katherine Fritz is a Mechanical Designer at LLNL with experience working on Energy, Physics, Chemistry, and Lasers projects.

Katherine Fritz is a Mechanical Designer at LLNL and has worked on Her professional experience encompasses the support of Energy, Physics, Chemistry, and Lasers programs. She presented her designs of the LLNL/LANL High Exposure Line Automation System at the LLNL Women's Technical and Professional Symposium in 1994.

Katherine's software teaching experience includes Instructor of AUTOCAD at Las Positas College and LLNL AUTOCAD Trainer. She was a 1999 recipient of the LSED Mechanical Engineering Award for creation of the LEGO' Robotics project for EYH. Ms Fritz was a member of the LLNL Director's Diversity Action Team in 1994. She served in the Mechanical Engineering Ombuds program for 2 years. Katherine was elected LLNL Women's Association Vice President in 1993 and President in 1994.

Ms Fritz is an active volunteer supporter of LLNL outreach activities. She has been an Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) presenter since 1981. Currently she is the leader of the LEGO' Robotics workshops for EYH.

Katherine Fritz is a native Californian from the East Bay. She and Joel were married in 1972. She studied Art at several schools prior to attending Laney College in Oakland, where she received an A.S. degree in Engineering Science in 1976. The Fritzes have a 20 year-old daughter who attends UC Berkeley. Katherine's hobbies include drawing, decorating, sewing, and gardening.

Jim Bock

Jim Bock received his degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering then spent 25 years designing and building yachts before moving into education in 1990. He has taught 5th, 6th, and 7th grade general subjects, and 8th grade science. He has also coached and judged extensively in the Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination competitions. Mr. Bock currently works full-time developing robotics and technology curriculum for the San Joaquin County Office of Education.