What is Robotics?

What Is Robotics?

Robotics is the combination of science, engineering, and technology that makes robots, which are machines that can do things like humans. Robots have always been a big part of pop culture, like R2-D2, the Terminator, and WALL-E. Most of the time, these robots that look too much like people seem like a parody of the real thing. But do they think further ahead than we think? Robots are getting smarter and better at making things, which means that a machine like R2-D2 might be possible in the future.

As technology gets better, so do the kinds of things that can be called robotics. In 2005, 90 percent of all robots were working in factories to put cars together. Most of these robots are made up of mechanical arms that are used to weld or screw on parts of a car.

Today, the definition of robotics has changed and grown to include the development, creation, and use of bots that do things like explore the harshest environments on Earth, help law enforcement, speed up surgical procedures, and go on rescue missions.


What is a Robotics


What Is A Robot?

A robot is a machine that can be programmed to do a task. Robotics is a field of study that focuses on making robots and automating tasks. Each robot is different in how much it can do on its own. These levels range from bots that do tasks while being controlled by humans to bots that do tasks without any outside help.


Robotics Explained

Even though the field of robotics as a whole is growing, a robot always contains the following characteristics:

  • Robots are made of mechanical construction. A robot's mechanical components enable it to perform duties in the environment for which it was created. For instance, the Mars 2020 Rover's wheels, are comprised of titanium tubing and individually powered to assist it in firmly grasping the hard terrain of the red planet.
  • Robots need parts that are controlled and powered by electricity. Most robots are powered by an electric current, which can come from something like a battery.
  • There is at least a little bit of computer programming in every robot. A robot would just be a piece of simple machinery if it didn't have a set of code that told it what to do. When you put a program into a robot, it can figure out when and how to do a task.

As artificial intelligence and software continue to improve, we'll see the benefits of the robotics industry sooner rather than later. As these technologies keep getting better, robots will keep getting smarter, more flexible, and better at using energy. They'll also continue to be one of the most important parts of smart factories, where they'll tackle harder problems and help keep global supply chains safe.

The robotics industry is full of great hopes for progress that used to be the stuff of science fiction. From the deepest parts of our oceans to thousands of miles away in space, robots are doing things that people could never do on their own.

Robot Etymology

The Czech word robota, which means "forced labor," is where the word "robot" comes from. The first time the word was used was in the 1920 play R.U.R., where the characters were mass-produced workers who couldn't think creatively.


Robot Types

Types of Robotics

Mechanical bots come in many different shapes and sizes so that they can do their jobs well. All robots have different looks, functions, and levels of independence. From the 0.2-millimeter-long "RoboBee" to the 200-meter-long "Vindskip," robots are getting better at doing things that people can't.

There are five different kinds of robots that do different jobs based on what they can do. Here is a brief description of each type and what it does.

Pre-Programmed Robots

Robots that have already been programmed work in a controlled environment where they do simple, repetitive tasks. A mechanical arm on an assembly line for cars is an example of a pre-programmed robot. The arm has one purpose, like welding on a door or putting a part into the engine, and its job is to do that one thing longer, faster, and better than a person.

Humanoid Robots

Humanoid robots are machines that look like people or act like people. Most of the time, these robots act like people and do things like run, jump, and carry things. Sometimes, they are even made to look like people, with human faces and expressions. Sophia by Hanson Robotics and Atlas by Boston Dynamics are two of the best-known humanoid robots.

Autonomous Robots

Autonomous robots don't need people to control them. Most of the time, these robots are made to do tasks in the open that don't need human supervision. They are very different from other machines because they use sensors to gather information about their surroundings and then use decision-making structures (usually a computer) to figure out the best next step based on their data and mission. The Roomba vacuum cleaner is an example of an autonomous robot. It uses sensors to move around a home on its own. Cleaning Bots (for example, Roomba), Lawn Trimming Bots, Hospitality Bots, Autonomous Drones, and Medical Assistant Bots are the main examples of autonomous robots.

Teleoperated Robots

Teleoperated robots are bots that can do some things on their own and can be controlled by humans from a safe distance using a wireless network. Most of the time, these robots work in places, weather, and situations that are very harsh. Humans-controlled submarines used to fix underwater pipe leaks during the BP oil spill are examples of teleoperated robots, as are drones used to find landmines on a battlefield.

Augmenting Robots

Augmenting robots, also called virtual reality (VR) robots, either add to or replace what a person is already able to do. In the field of robotics for human augmentation, science fiction could become a reality very soon, with bots that can make people faster and stronger and change what it means to be human. Some examples of robots that help people right now are robotic prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons that help people carry heavy things.

What Is a Bot? [Software Robotics]

Software robotics, also known as "bots," are computer programs that do things on their own. A chatbot is a type of software robot that is often used. A chatbot is a computer program that can simulate conversations both online and over the phone. It is often used in customer service situations. Chatbots can be simple services that answer questions with automated responses or more complicated digital assistants that learn from the information users give them.


Bot Types


Types oF Bots

  • Chatbots: have simple conversations, often with people who need help.
  • Spam Bots: collect email addresses and send spam mail.
  • Download Bots: Software and apps will be automatically downloaded.
  • Crawler Bots: can add websites to search engines and make them easy to find.
  • Monitoring Bots: report on the speed and status of the site.

Software robots are not robots because they only exist on the internet and are made by computers. For a device to be considered a robot, it must have a body or a chassis, which gives it a shape.


How Robots Work


How Do Robots Work?

Independent Robots

Robots that are independent can do everything they need to do without any help from a human operator. Most of the time, these robots need more complicated programming, but they can do dangerous, boring, or impossible tasks that humans can't do, like disarming bombs or going deep into the ocean. Robots that work on their own have been the most disruptive to society because they take away jobs but also open up new ways for growth.

Dependent Robots

Dependent robots are robots that can't do things on their own and need human help to improve or add to what they're already doing. This is a fairly new type of technology that is always being used in new ways. However, advanced prosthetics that can be controlled by the mind are one example of dependent robots that have already been made.

In 2018, Johns Hopkins APL made a famous dependent robot for Johnny Matheny, a patient who had his arm cut off above the elbow. Matheny was given a modular prosthetic limb so that scientists could study how he used it over a long period of time. Electromyography, or signals sent from his missing limb that control the prosthesis, is used to control the MPL. Over time, Matheny got better at controlling the MPL, and the signals coming from his missing limb got smaller and less erratic. This made the MPL's movements more precise and let Matheny do things like play the piano.


Components of Robot

Robots are made to meet many different needs and serve many different purposes. To do all of these things, they need a variety of specialized parts.

Robot Components

  • Control system: the high-level CPU that tells a robot what to do.
  • Sensors: a component that sends electrical signals to let a robot interact with its environment.
  • Actuators: the parts of a robot's motor that allow it to move.
  • Power Supply: the battery that gives power to a robot.
  • End Effectors: the outside parts of a robot that allow it to do a job.

But there are some parts that are essential to the construction of every robot, such as a power source or a central processing unit. In general, robotics parts fall into one of these five groups:

Control System

Computation includes all of the components that make up the central processing unit, or control system, of a robot. Control systems are programmed to tell a robot how to use its different components to do a certain task. This is similar to how the brain sends signals to different parts of the body. These robotic tasks could be anything from surgery with small incisions to packing on an assembly line.


Sensors send electrical signals to a robot's controller that tell it what's going on in the outside world. This lets the robot interact with the outside world. Robots usually have video cameras that work as eyes, photo resistors that respond to light, and microphones that work like ears. These sensors let the robot see what's going on around it and figure out what's most likely to happen next. They also let the controller send commands to the other components.


A thing can only be called a robot if it has a frame or body that can move. The components that make this movement happen are called actuators. These components are made up of motors that get signals from the control system and move together to do the work needed to complete the task. Actuators can be made of different materials, like metal or rubber. Most of the time, they are powered by compressed air (pneumatic actuators) or oil (hydraulic actuators), but they can also be made in other ways that are better suited to their specific roles.

Power Supply

For robots to work, they need power, just like our bodies need food. Stationary robots, like those in a factory, can be powered by AC power from a wall outlet, but most robots are powered by a battery inside. Most robots use lead-acid batteries because they are safe and last a long time. Other robots may use silver-cadmium batteries, which are smaller but cost more. When making the power supply for a robot, it's important to think about safety, weight, how easy it is to replace, and how long it will last.

Future robots could also get their power from compressed gases, solar power, hydraulic power, a flywheel that stores energy, garbage that is broken down without oxygen, and nuclear power.

End Effectors

End effectors are the physical components, usually on the outside, that help robots finish their tasks. In factories, robots often have tools that can be switched out, like paint sprayers and drills. Surgical robots may have scalpels, and other types of robots can be built with gripping claws or even hands to do things like delivery, packing, bomb disposal, and more.


Example of Robotics


Uses of Robots

Robots are the best kind of technology for the future because they can be used in many different ways. Soon, robots will be nearly everywhere. We'll see them in hospitals, hotels, and even on the roads.


Applications of Robotics

  • Conversation: fighting forest fires.
  • Manufacturing: working in factories and warehouses to find and carry things.
  • Companionship: providing company to elderly individuals.
  • Healthcare: helping surgeons do their jobs.
  • Delivery: delivering food and getting orders to the last mile.
  • Household: cleaning the house and cutting the grass.
  • Rescue: carrying out searches and rescues after natural disasters.
  • Military Operations: detecting landmines in war zones.

Robotics in Manufacturing

How is robots used in manufacturing? Well, Robots are probably used in the manufacturing industry more than any other. These robots and co-bots (robots that work with humans) test and put together things like cars and industrial equipment in an efficient way. It’s estimated that there are more than three million industrial robots in use right now.

Logistics Robots

Retailers and logistics companies are starting to need robots for shipping, handling, and quality control. Logistics companies use robots in warehouses and even on the road to help make the best use of time. This is because we now expect our packages to arrive at lightning speed. Right now, robots are taking your items off of the shelves, moving them across the warehouse floor, and putting them in boxes. Also, the rise of last-mile robots, which will deliver your package to your door on their own, makes it likely that you'll meet a logistics bot in the near future.

Robots for Home

It's no longer science fiction. Robots are everywhere in our homes. They help us with chores, remind us of our plans, and even keep our kids entertained. The Roomba vacuum cleaner is the most well-known example of a home robot. Also, robots have improved to the point where they can now mow grass and clean pools on their own.

Travel Robots

Is there anything that sounds more like science fiction than self-driving cars? These cars that drive themselves are no longer just a dream. Self-driving cars are taking the world by storm. They are a mix of data science and robotics. Companies like Tesla, Ford, Waymo, Volkswagen, and BMW are all working on the next wave of transportation, which will let us sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Uber and Lyft are also working on rideshare vehicles that can drive themselves and don't need a person to drive them.

Healthcare Robotics 

Robots have made a lot of progress in the medical field. These amazing machines are used in almost every part of health care, from surgeries done with the help of robots to physical therapy where bots help people recover from injuries. Toyota's healthcare assistants, which help people regain the ability to walk, and TUG, a robot that can move around a hospital on its own and deliver everything from medicine to clean sheets, are both examples of robots that are used in healthcare.

Pharmaceutical companies have used robots to help fight against COVID-19. Now, these robots are used to fill and seal COVID-19 testing swabs, and some manufacturers also use them to make PPE and respirators.


What is Robotics and Automation?

Industrial automation and robotics are the use of computers, control systems, and information technology to run industrial processes and machines. This takes the place of manual labor and improves efficiency, speed, quality, and performance.

Automated industrial uses range from assembly lines in factories to surgery and research in space. Early automated systems focused on increasing productivity (since machines don't need to take breaks as humans do), but now the focus is shifting to improving quality, making manufacturing more flexible, and other things. With the addition of artificial intelligence and machine learning, modern automated systems are becoming more than just machines. However, Automation is not the same thing as robotics.


How Has Robotics Changed Manufacturing Technology?

Almost every industry is affected by the progress of robotics, but manufacturing is at the forefront. When robotics are used in manufacturing processes and factory operations, production goes up. This is the result of doing things well and leads to more money coming in.

Robotics has helped the manufacturing sector manage many automation processes. They are asked to do more and more as they get smarter, cheaper, and faster. Robots don't get tired, so they don't need a break. On the factory floor, they did hard, boring, and sometimes dangerous work. Robots made people more productive and cut down on the cost of labor.

Even though robots have taken away many low-skilled manufacturing jobs, they have also created high-skilled jobs. Robots have made businesses more productive and saved them money, which has let them invest in new ideas and create jobs in areas like product design and engineering.

Robotics is becoming more and more important in the manufacturing industry. In 2010, the Internal Federation of Robotics (IFR) reported that industrial robots were being used more and more around the world. In 2013, there were more than 8.6 million robots being made. The most robots have ever been sold in 2015, which is 15% more than in 2014.

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