James is a CONFIRM PhD Student based at the Univerity of Limerick
“The chance to begin to upskill both your technical and practical knowledge in an emerging area of engineering was very appealing to me.”
Tell us a bit about your research...
I am currently working with autonomous robots, specifically the Turtlebot3 robot.
To date I have been exploring the idea of building an interface that allows me to monitor the robots position while also having the robot move autonomously around indoor environments.
The next step is to look into building a 3D model of a room (e.g. my research lab) for the robot to use this as a reference.
What did you study as an Undergraduate?
I studied Mechanical Engineering at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) from 2013 to 2017.
The degree was very focused on both design and manufacture, and there was a very good mix of in-class learning while also being exposed to the machine shop to manufacture and use both manual and automatic machinery to build my projects etc.
Every week, you would have between 4 to 6 hours working in the machine shop, while also taking part in CAD modules to carry out the design of your parts before manufacturing them.
There was also modules that were very technical and required a lot of focus while in class and also study outside of class to ensure full understanding.
Overall, if you feel you are a hands-on engineer who has an interest in the machining and manufacturing aspect of engineering, this course is a great fit.
What made you decide to go into research?
It was an opportunity that was too good to turn down.
The chance to begin to up-skill both your technical and practical knowledge in an emerging area of engineering was very appealing to me.
It was also a bit of a challenge, to see if I had the ability to progress in a PhD.
Plus, being called Dr. James at the end wouldn’t be so bad!
What do you enjoy most about being a PhD student?
Driving my own goals, ideas & projects. It is not easy at times but very rewarding when you get results. Managing your own time and expectations is a bonus too.
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about a career or research in STEM?
There are definitely a lot of opportunities in industry after completing a degree/masters or PhD in this area, so in that sense, it is a good area to be in. The fact that engineering is so broad, your degree does not tie you down to a very specific area, you have the opportunity to move in any direction.