Every technological development in the world comes from the field of robotics and engineering. These two industries work hand in hand to produce innovative inventions that will lead mankind to betterment. Although, seeing the final products or prototypes of research lets you see the tip of the iceberg only. Learning what robotics truly is will lead you to a newfound understanding and appreciation of the industry.
With that said, this article will tell you everything you need to know about robotics. Learn what it is, how it works and the products that came to fruition under its wing here.
What is robotics?
In layman’s terms, robotics is a branch of engineering that deals with the operation, production, design and manufacture of robots. Its reason for existence is to give researchers the tools needed to create robots that assist mankind for whatever reason.
Looking at it from a different perspective, creating a robot and letting it execute a couple of commands is exhausting. Despite this being true, the endless research of engineers and scientists has led them to the answer of producing a functional robot that can aid humans. That is why you will find machines in multiple sectors such as automotive, medicine and agriculture.
Thanks to robotics, the workload of humans has eased. At the same time, using robots in multiple fields has prevented injuries and deaths while working. Because of this, researchers are now more motivated to find ways on how their new inventions can benefit mankind.
Types of robotics
The study of robotics also comes in different types which are known as the following:
From its name, pre-programmed robots are the ones where you need to provide a command right at the beginning of development. In a way, you are providing them with their reason for running as soon as they turn on. Once they know what they have to do, pre-programmed robots will begin to move based on your orders.
Aside from that, robots under this category do not have free will. They can also continue to function even without human supervision. As long as you provide the instructions, they will execute as planned.
The most common example of a pre-programmed robot is a mechanical arm. This is present in automotive companies and programmed to perform repetitive tasks. In place of humans, mechanical arms can do a task longer, faster and more efficiently. While this job is covered, people now have the freedom to work on other things.
When researchers created humanoid robots, it was an amazing breakthrough in the field of engineering. These have similar appearances to humans and also act like them. In some cases, humanoid robots can have a set of programs that allow them to talk, walk, jump and run like a normal person. At the same time, these robots are designed to replicate the facial features and expressions of a person.
Autonomous robots are the ones that do not need human supervision and have a set program to follow. On top of that, their actions depend on the sensors attached to their bodies. Autonomous robots use these to navigate around their environment and make ‘if-then’ decisions.
To give you an idea, the best example to explain how autonomous robots work is the Roomba. This cleaning robot is tasked to clean any dirt in the area. Moreover, it sees through the sensors found underneath its body. Once it senses an obstruction, the Roomba will automatically choose a cleaning action.
There are also semi-automated robots which are known as teleoperated machines. These already have a set program to follow, but it also allows humans to control it from afar. This is possible due to a wireless network that lets people command the robot at a safe distance. Moreover, teleoperated robots are mostly used in dangerous and life-threatening situations that no human can enter. To find answers to research, these robots are sent to that kind of environment in the place of humans. A camera is attached to the machine and provides a live video feed.
Augmenting robots enhance human capabilities or replace them with what was lost. These are commonly used in the medicinal field and appear as programmed prosthetic limbs.
Different types of robots
In robotics, there are only two kinds of robots which are independent and dependent. Find out their differences below:
Independent robots do not need any assistance, control or supervision from humans. While this is a good thing, programming this kind of robot is intense. Engineers have to come up with multiple codes and situations so that the robot knows what to do. Despite the difficulty and hassle of programming, independent robots are meant to replace humans when it comes to executing mundane, dangerous or almost impossible tasks.
On the other hand, dependent robots rely on human interaction to function. These already have a starting program, but connecting with people enhances and expands their knowledge. In terms of age, dependent robots are fairly new to the industry and are still under development. However, the best example for this category is advanced prosthetics controlled by the human mind.
What are the parts of a robot?
Get to know how a robot works by learning the different parts it has:
- Control system
The control system is the central processing unit of a robot and contains the programs that command it to function. In a way, this is the brain of a robot. All of the orders come from here, and it computes all the codes to make the robot run as planned. Moreover, the codes in the control system send signals to the specific body of a robot. In turn, that part will move as ordered.
Robots see or feel the world through their sensors. These provide them with stimuli in the form of electrical signals. In turn, it allows the robot to have prompts on how to interact with objects in their environment based on their program.
Aside from that, robot sensors come in the form of eyes with video cameras that react to light. Also, their ears function as microphones that collect sound from multiple directions.
Actuators act as the limbs and motors of the robot that allows them to move around a space. These receive signals from the control system and move to carry out a task. In terms of materials, actuators can operate by use of compressed air or oil. Either of them is used based on the kind of roles that the robots need to perform.
- Power supply
Robots need life to function, and they get this from their power supply. These can come in the form of an internal battery that has an assigned time limit to function.
- End effectors
End effectors are tools that robots use to finish the task at hand. These can come in various shapes and sizes, but the most common ones are paint sprayers, drills and scalpels. With that said, the end effectors of robots depending on what kind of action they need to complete.
Uses of robots
Robots have a lot of uses and applications in the real world, and you can find them in almost every industry. Their advanced qualities are catalysts for the innovation of multiple companies around the world. On top of that, these robots made work easier to accomplish.
Below is a list of common uses of robots to give you an idea:
Manufacturing new objects such as types of machinery, cars and other things are easier now thanks to robots. These assist humans in terms of assembling products. On top of that, robots are responsible for delivering difficult tasks such as carrying heavy objects or other actions that are impossible for humans to do.
Robots also assist in the medical field in various ways. Some can be present within an operating room and provide support for surgeons, while others appear as prosthetic devices. Aside from that, robots also play a role in physical therapy; their commands help humans to heal from their injuries.
Cleaning robots are the most common ones used at homes such as the Roomba and grass-cutting machines. These are automated robots that function on their own and need little assistance. By setting them up, they will instantly work as designed and perform pre-programmed orders.
The field of robotics becomes more advanced thanks to endless research. Because of this, people can now travel inside self-driving cars like the Tesla. This allows you to drive without worrying about moving the wheel yourself.
Robotics is a fun field you should explore!
If you are looking for a new hobby, robotics is here to welcome you with open arms. See what this field has to offer you by checking out RoboCup! Here, find out the interesting things that robots can do by checking out the different sections available on the website.