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Robotics Technology

[Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House, Sydney, Australia - Photologic]


- Robot Consistent Characteristics

Robot is a system that contains sensors, control systems, manipulators, power supplies and software all working together to perform a task. Designing, building, programming and testing a robots is a combination of physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, structural engineering, mathematics and computing. In some cases biology, medicine, chemistry might also be involved. 

While the overall world of robotics is expanding, a robot has some consistent characteristics:

  • Robots all consist of some sort of mechanical construction. The mechanical aspect of a robot helps it complete tasks in the environment for which it’s designed. For example, the Mars 2020 Rover’s wheels are individually motorized and made of titanium tubing that help it firmly grip the harsh terrain of the red planet.
  • Robots need electrical components that control and power the machinery. Essentially, an electric current (a battery, for example) is needed to power a large majority of robots.
  • Robots contain at least some level of computer programming. Without a set of code telling it what to do, a robot would just be another piece of simple machinery. Inserting a program into a robot gives it the ability to know when and how to carry out a task.

The robotics industry is still relatively young, but has already made amazing strides. From the deepest depths of our oceans to the highest heights of outer space, robots can be found performing tasks that humans couldn’t dream of achieving.


- Robot Vision

[RobotIQ]: In basic terms, Robot Vision involves using a combination of camera hardware and computer algorithms to allow robots to process visual data from the world. For example, your system could have a 2D camera which detects an object for the robot to pick up. A more complex example might be to use a 3D stereo camera to guide a robot to mount wheels onto a moving vehicle.  

Without Robot Vision, your robot is essentially blind. This is not a problem for many robotic tasks, but for some applications Robot Vision is useful or even essential.

AI gives robots a computer vision to navigate, sense and calculate their reaction accordingly. Robots learn to perform their tasks from humans through machine learning which again is a part of computer programming and AI. 

Since the time John McCarthy has coined the term Artificial Intelligence in 1956, it has created a lot of sensation. This is because AI has the power to give life to robots and empower them to take their decisions on their own. 


- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

[IRPA AI]: Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems. RPA is a promising new development in business automation.


- Types of Robots

Mechanical bots come in all shapes and sizes to efficiently carry out the task for which they are designed. From the 0.2 millimeter-long “RoboBee” to the 200 meter-long robotic shipping vessel “Vindskip,” robots are emerging to carry out tasks that humans simply can’t. 

Generally, there are five types of robots:

  • Pre-Programmed Robots - Pre-programmed robots operate in a controlled environment where they do simple, monotonous tasks. An example of a pre-programmed robot would be a mechanical arm on an automotive assembly line. The arm serves one function — to weld a door on, to insert a certain part into the engine, etc. — and it's job is to perform that task longer, faster and more efficiently than a human. 
  • Humanoid Robots - Humanoid robots are robots that look like and/or mimic human behavior. These robots usually perform human-like activities (like running, jumping and carrying objects), and are sometimes designed to look like us, even having human faces and expressions. Two of the most prominent examples of humanoid robots are Hanson Robotics’ Sophia (in the video above) and Boston Dynamics’ Atlas. 
  • Autonomous Robots - Autonomous robots operate independently of human operators. These robots are usually designed to carry out tasks in open environments that do not require human supervision. An example of an autonomous robot would be the Roomba vacuum cleaner, which uses sensors to roam throughout a home freely.  
  • Teleoperated Robots - Teleoperated robots are mechanical bots controlled by humans. These robots usually work in extreme geographical conditions, weather, circumstances, etc. Examples of teleoperated robots are the human-controlled submarines used to fix underwater pipe leaks during the BP oil spill or drones used to detect landmines on a battlefield. 
  • Augmenting Robots - Augmenting robots either enhance current human capabilities or replace the capabilities a human may have lost. Some examples of augmenting robots are robotic prosthetic limbs or exoskeletons used to lift hefty weights.



[More to come ...]

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