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A robot is a machine designed to execute one or more tasks automatically with

speed and precision. There are as many different types of robots as there are
tasks for them to perform.Robots that resemble humans are known as androids;
however, many robots aren't built on the human model. Industrial robots, for
example, are often designed to perform repetitive tasks that aren't facilitated by
a human-like construction. A robot can be remotely controlled by a human
operator, sometimes from a great distance. A telechir is a complex robot that is
remotely controlled by a human operator for a telepresence system, which gives
that individual the sense of being on location in a remote, dangerous or alien
environment and the ability to interact with it. Telepresence robots,
which simulate the experience and some of the capabilities of being physically
present, can enable remote business consultations, healthcare, home monitoring
and childcare, among many other possibilities.
Types of robots
There are:

*Industrial robots - Industrial robots are robots used in an

industrial manufacturing environment. Usually these are
articulated arms specifically developed for such applications as
welding, material handling, painting and others. If we judge
purely by application this type could also include some automated
guided vehicles and other robots.

*Domestic or household robots - Robots used at home. This

type of robots includes many quite different devices such as
robotic vacuum cleaners, robotic pool cleaners, sweepers, gutter
cleaners and other robots that can do different chores. Also,
some surveillance and telepresence robots could be regarded as
household robots if used in that environment.

*Medical robots - Robots used in medicine and medical

institutions. First and foremost - surgery robots. Also, some
automated guided vehicles and maybe lifting aides.

*Service robots - Robots that don t fall into other types by

usage. These could be different data gathering robots, robots
made to show off technologies, robots used for research, etc.

*Military robots - Robots used in military. This type of robots

includes bomb disposal robots, different transportation robots,
reconnaissance drones. Often robots initially created for military
purposes can be used in law enforcement, search and rescue and
other related fields.

*Entertainment robots - These are robots used for

entertainment. This is a very broad category. It starts with toy
robots such as robosapien or the running alarm clock and ends
with real heavyweights such as articulated robot arms used as
motion simulators.
*Space robots - I like to single out robots used in space as a
separate type. This type would include robots used on the
International Space Station, Canadarm that was used in Shuttles,
as well as Mars rovers and other robots used in space.

*Hobby and competition robots - Robots that you create. Line

followers, sumo-bots, robots made just for fun and robots made
for competition.

Now, as you can see there are examples that fit into more than
one of these types. For example, there can be a deep sea
exploration robot that can gather some valuable information that
can be used for military purposes.

Parts of a Robot

I. Sensors

Sensors are what allow a robot to gather

information about its environment. This
information can be used to guide the robot's
behavior. Some sensors are relatively familiar
pieces of equipment. Cameras allow a robot
to construct a visual representation of its
environment. This allows the robot to judge
attributes of the environment that can only be
determined by vision, such as shape and color, as well as aid in
determining other important qualities, such as the size and distance of

Microphones allow robots to detect sounds. Sensors such

as buttons embedded in bumpers can allow the robot to determine when it
has collided with an object or a wall. Some robots come equipped
with thermometers and barometers to sense temperature and pressure.

Other types of sensors are more complex, and

give a robot more interesting
capabilities.Robots equipped with LIght
Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) sensors use
lasers to construct three dimensional maps of
their surroundings as they navigate through the
world. Supersonic sensors are a cheaper way
to accomplish a similar goal only using high
frequency sound instead of lasers. Finally, some robots are equipped with
specialized sensors such as accelerometersand magnetometers that
allow the robot to sense its movement with respect to the Earth's gravity
and magnetic field.

II. Effectors

The effectors are the parts of the robot that actually do the work. Effectors
can be any sort of tool that you can mount on your robot and control with
the robot's computer. Most of the time, the effectors are specific to the
tasks that you want your robot to do. For example, in addition to some of
the very common effectors listed below, the Mars rovers have tools like
hammers, shovels, and a mass spectrometer to use in analyzing the soil of
Mars. Obviously a mail-delivering robot would not need any of those.

End-Effectors are the tools at the end of robotic arms and other robotic
appendiges that directly interact with objects in the world. A "gripper" at the
end of a robotic arm is a common end-effector. Others include spikes,
lights, hammers,and screw-drivers. Medical robots have their own
specialized effectors, such as tools for cutting in surgery and suturing

Motors can be used for many of the moving

parts of a robot, from joints on robotic limbs to
wheels on robotic vehicles, to the flaps and
propellors on a robotic
airplane. Pneumaticsand hydraulics are another way of moving parts of
the robot, particularly where the robot needs a lot of strength to perform a
particular task.

Speakers can allow certain robots to talk to us or generate other sounds.

Speech is, after all, a behavior intended to modify the environment, usually
by conveying some sort of information to the people around us.

III. Control Systems (the "brains")

A robot's "control system" is that part of the robot that determines the
robot's behavior.

A. Pre-Programmed Robots

The very simplest pre-programmed robot merely repeats the same

operations over and over. Such a robot is either insensitive to changes in
its environment or it can detect on very limited information about very
limited parts of the environment. Such a robot will require little in the way of
"controls" but it will perform properly only if the environment behaves in
accord with the robot's pre-programmed actions.

B. Autonomous Robots

More complex robots are able to respond appropriately in environments

that are much more complicated. Such a robot will have sensory apparatus
that allow it to detect changing features of the environment and a range of
behaviors that will allow it to respond to those changes. Whatever features
of the robot enable it to adapt its behavior to its environment we will call the
"control system."

There are many different kinds of control systems used in robots. In this
module, we will focus most of our attention on robots that have one of two
different kinds of control systems (sometimes called "robotic

Top-Down: Build the brain first! Then hook up the sensors and the
effectors. If the brain is built properly, it will take the input data from the
sensors and be "smart enough" to behave intelligently in response to it.
You build a brain, by writing an artificial intelligence (AI) computer program.
There are two main kinds of AI programs: Classical AI & Connectionist
Networks. We will explore them both in this module.

Bottom-Up: Don't bother with a brain! Hook each sensor directly to an

effector -- call this a "behavior." . Then rank each of the behaviors (the
sensor-effector pairs) in order of priority, to determine which one "wins out"
and controls the robot if more than one is activated. Call this ranking a
"hierarchy." Most hierarchies produce stupid robots; but just the right
hierarchy can produce remarkably "intelligent" behavior. (These are also
called "behavior-based" robots.)

We believe that the best way to understand how robots work, is to build
them yourself. So, in addition to more traditional materials that teach about
robots, you will also find several "Virtual" robotics labs -- in which you will
build and/or program both kinds of robots.

Before you begin your robot training, you might want to pause for a
moment and consider the fact that we have already begun talking about
"intelligent" robots. What exactly do we mean by that? If a machine can
take information about the world as input, and produce effective behavior
as output -- is that enough for "intelligence"? Even a thermostat and a
pocket calculator might meet that rquirement. Are they genuinely intelligent.

What is "intelligence" and should we believe that it can be built into a

machine? To begin exploring this question, why not play a game with an AI
program called "Larry Learner" -- see if you can beat it, and decide for
yourself whether a machine can think." [This activity is on two webpages.
Follow the link at the bottom of the first page, to get to the second page.]
Parts of a Robotic Arm

Robotic arms are widely-used tools that are capable of lifting heavy or
hazardous materials that human workers could not otherwise handle. They
have been used for decades in factories and laboratories and are a staple
science project for middle or high school children. Like other robots, robotic
arms consist of a variety of different parts that all contribute to making it
properly function.

Controllers are the main processors of the robotic arms and act as their
brains. They can either act automatically as programmed or allow for
manual operation by outputting instructions directly from a technician. They
are essentially the control consoles of the robotic arms and come in a
variety of styles according to what kind of processing power is needed.
Some controllers in large factories are complex computer systems, while
other controllers, like the ones found in science project kits, are simple


The arm is the main section of the robotic arm and consists of three parts:
the shoulder, elbow and wrist. These are all joints, with the shoulder resting
at the base of the arm, typically connected to the controller, and it can
move forward, backward or spin. The elbow is in the middle and allows the
upper section of the arm to move forward or backward independently of the
lower section. Finally, the wrist is at the very end of the upper arm and
attaches to the end effector

End Effector

The end effector acts as the hand of the robotic arm. It is often composed
of two claws, though sometimes three, that can open or close on
command. It can also spin on the wrist, making maneuvering material and
equipment easy


Drives are essentially the motors in between joints that control the
movement and maneuvers. They typically use belts similar to what is found
in car engines.

Sensors are more often found on advanced robots. Some are riddled with
sensors that allow them to sense their environment and react accordingly.
For example, they prevent collisions between two robots who may be
working in close proximity or allow the robot to adjust its grip on a fragile
object to prevent damaging it