Robotics is a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots.
This field overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology and bioengineering.
Our guide will give you a concrete grasp of robotics, including different types of robots and how they're being applied across industries.
The majority of robots today perform repetitive tasks or actions, that are excessively dangerous for humans. For instance, some robots are useful in place with a potential bomb. They help in bomb detection and deactivation.
Types of Robotics
Pre-Programmed Robots - operate in a controlled environment where they do simple, monotonous tasks.
The most familiar pre-programmed robots are probably the robots used to build cars in most automobile plants around the world.
There are similar robots that operate not on cars, but on the human body.
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.
This category includes also systems like Amazon's warehouse robots and collaborative factory robots that can operate alongside human workers.
Credit: Honda Asimo
Humanoid Robots - are robots that look like and/or mimic human behaviour. 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.
This is probably the type of robot that most people think of when they think of a robot.
Examples of humanoid robots include Honda’s Asimo, which has a mechanical appearance, and also androids like the Geminoid series, which are designed to look like people. (Osaka University/ATR/Kokoro)
Credit: iRobot Roomba
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 iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner, which uses sensors to roam throughout a home freely.
Consumer robots are so commonplace that many people fail to see them as robots at all! These are the little household helpers that unobtrusively improve the lives of countless homeowners the world over.
When operating properly it is not necessary for humans to constantly monitor and manipulate the enviornment to accommodate limitations in the robot's ability to cope.
Autonomous robots are used in industry, as labor-saving devices at home, and are even becoming popular toys.
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.
Right now, teleoperated robots are mostly used in medical surgeries and military operations. Critical surgeries are made easier with teleoperated robotic arms or tools due to their ability to reach the tightest places where human hands can’t operate.
Augmenting Robots this robotic technology can facilitate complex medical tasks and augment human capabilities, empowering people to perform previously impossible or difficult tasks.
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.
The most common example of an augmenting medical device would be a prosthetic limb. Modern prosthetics can be complex electronic devices that learn to respond to neural signals sent by the patient.
With the rapidly increasing power of the microprocessor and artificial intelligence techniques, robots have dramatically increased their potential as flexible automation tools.
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