A PASSION FOR SLITHERING

Successful entrepreneurs and innovators are always passionate people.  They have made their passion their pursuit, and thereby laid the groundwork for success.  Howie Choset is a good example.  He designs robotic snakes.  Olga Kharif writes about Choset’s passion rooted all the way back to a five-year-old boy’s observations about mechanical movement (“The Robot-Snake Charmer” Bloomberg Businessweek, 1/7/13–1/13/13, p. 34):

“Choset has been interested in how cars, trains, and people move ever since he was a 5-year-old growing up on Long Island.  He says he got his first computer in eighth grade and taught himself how to program.  In his junior year in high school he built a robotic car out of a shoebox.  The next year, he constructed an automated vehicle with an ultrasonic sensor that prevented it from ramming into walls.  The gadget made it into the finals at a national science competition.”

Did Choset’s passion serve him well?  It worked as a child . . . and as an adult.  Today, Choset is a professor of robotics with Carnegie Mellon University.  He earned his undergraduate degree with a double major in business and computer science (University of Pennsylvania) and his Ph.D. in mathematical models for robotic movement (California Institute of Technology).  Choset’s work with robotic snakes now has him involved in creating specialized robotic snakes.  One model is for search and rescue of earthquake victims.  Another model is for the detection of dangerous cracks in power-plant piping to prevent accidents.

When you love what you do, it no longer feels like work.  That is why it is so important to pursue your passions.  Has Choset gotten burned out after all this passionate concentration on robots?  I don’t think so.  As he says of his robots:

“Even after 20 years, I still never get bored watching them move.”





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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger.

I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.


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