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The Philosophy of Robotics by Tim Ellenberger

I recently sat down with Tim Ellenberger the Vice President and co-founder of Motion Controls Robotics. Tim has been working in the robotics field for close to 40 years. That seems like a long time for such a “new” technology, but it just goes to show how far robotics has come in the last 40 years. From being something few people were exploring as a career goal, to a goal many engineers and programmers strive to achieve.

Tim is retiring at the end of 2022, and I asked him if he would be willing to answer a few questions. I have been working with Tim for almost 10 years and knew he would have some thoughtful answers and advice. Because if he hadn’t focused on Robotics as a career – I think he might have gone into Philosophy. All that know Tim, know that going to him, rarely means you get a straight answer.

“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers” – William James

I want you to know these videos are only two minutes – they are not like his retirement speech at the groundbreaking ceremony – I promise!

While Tim’s parents were also entrepreneurs it was in quite a different field of work. Listen to how Tim discovered his love for Robotics.

Now that we know a little about Tim’s past, let’s hear how the industry has changed over the years. You, again, will see his philosophical bent in this answer.

What is the biggest change you have seen in the Robotics Industry?

It does make perfect sense that this is a field that still attracts a younger crowd, but the difference being there are now a variety of people and YouTube videos that can help you answer questions. Two robot programmers, Eric Hohman and Doug Horn have been with the company from almost the beginning, and they are two programmers that I know most look up to and they are not young! But like Tim said, they were young when they started and fell in love with their career.

MCRI started out with a team of 4 people that worked all worked together on each project to make sure they delivered the best solution to each customer. Today’s team is a bit larger, but the goal of delivering quality robotics solutions is still the same.

Lastly, let’s hear what advice Tim has for those people currently working or planning to work in the robotics field. I must bring back that philosophy theme here with this quote:

“Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.” ― Roy T. Bennett.

What advice do you leave for working in the Robotics Field?

Tim’s legacy and history at MCRI will be remembered by all that worked with him. They will say –

“Even while they (Tim) teach, men learn” – Seneca the Younger

We wish Tim the best in retirement and know that the extra time he gets to spend with his grandkids will be the best years of his life!

We will miss you Tim, but we also know you won’t stay away!

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