Traditional robotics curricula progresses from mechanisms and software to functional vehicles. Little time is left for application development, and participation is limited to students with an engineering background. The use of innovative web-based robotics applications developed by undergraduate and graduate Engineering students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art made possible broader interdisciplinary collaboration. Since the web interfaces require no specialized systems experience, Cooper Union's non-engineering student body from the Art and Architecture schools could now take part in a robotics class. This environment provides productive cross-disciplinary participation and mutual enrichment of engineering and arts students by the collaborative development of a project.

The educational aim of the Robotic Renaissance Project was to provide an open development environment - free of operating system or platform expertise requirements - for students and faculty in all academic disciplines to develop creative applications for mobile robots. The outcome was the enrichment of cross-disciplinary curricula involving engineering and the arts, including the following:

  1. Education of engineering and non-engineering students in material beyond their major
  2. Development of student’s interdisciplinary team skills
  3. Development of student's presentation and communication skills
  4. Education of students in robotics engineering
  5. Development of faculty skills and interdisciplinary enrichment

Specific outcomes for engineering students include:

  1. The ability to apply knowledge from math and science engineering to interdisciplanary projects
  2. The ability to design a system or component to meet desired needs
  3. The ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  4. The ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems