|The Mars Spirit rover. Public domain image. SOURCE.|
The word "robot" comes from the Czech word robota, or "forced labor", and the word "robotics" was coined by Science Fiction writer Isaac Asimov in 1941. There are five main physical elements to a robot: the structure, the power source, the sensors, the actuators (the things that make the robot move), and the controller (the "brain" of the robot). Most robots are mobile (using wheels or joints run by actuators, which can be powered by electric motors, hydraulic systems, or pneumatic systems), have an electrical circuit to which the actuators are connected, and are reprogrammable.
A common type of robot is the robotic arm, a stationary type of robot that has seven segments and six joints; they are prominent in manufacturing and require a good deal of accuracy. Robots that can move from place to place are more complicated, and require wheels, tracks, or legs, in addition to some way of properly controlling those methods of movement and compensating when out of balance. There are even more robot types when you consider remote and autonomous robots. Remote robots (or puppet robots) are controlled by people, whereas autonomous robots can control their movements on their own. They use a variety of sensors including ultrasound and infrared, and some of the fancier machines use stereo vision (which gives them depth perception).
|By Richard Greenhill and Hugo Elias, |
Yoky Matsuoka is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington, who obtained her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research focuses on "neurobotics" (also spelled neurorobotics), or how electrical signals in the brain could translate into movement of a robotic prosthetic. It involves several fields, including computer science, biomechanics, biophysics, material science, and psychophysics. She is also the head of the non-profit YokyWorks Foundation, which creates specific devices for people with disabilities.
Video of Yoky Matsuoka explaining neurobotics:
The Unofficial Guide to LEGO MINDSTORMS Robots by Jonathan B. Knudsen
What do you think of when someone says "robot"? Computers, factories, Mars rovers, the famous (and anthropomorphized) Wall-E, C-3PO, R2-D2, Sonny?
-----The Golden Eagle