When you hear the word ‘robotics’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Do you happen to think about moving robots and artificial intelligence? If your answer to that question is yes, then you are partially correct!
Robotics is more than just robots because it is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and computer science. This involves the science of combining codes, commands, shapes and other sciences just to produce a robot! If you want to know more about the topic, let this article indulge your curiosities.
Think about the famous robots in today’s pop culture
To fully grasp the study of robotics, you must first start with something simple. With that said, think about all the kinds of robots you can think of. It can be R2-D2 from Star Wars, the curious Wall-E or the menacing Terminator. The common denominator among the three is their characteristics as a robot and their special abilities. While it is fascinating to watch how they perform in their respective movies, you need to recognize the fact that they are all products of robotics and humans.
Robots are the end product or goal of robotics, hence the name. Students in this field strive to create a set of commands to complete simple tasks. This includes pushing a ball, lifting and sealing bottle caps. The main reason why robots are created is for the benefit of humanity. Their creation is one step forward in achieving technological advancement.
From doing basic tasks, a lot of robotic breakthroughs have shown the public that there are now more complex products that can do difficult tasks. Moreover, there are now humanoid robots that can replicate the movements of a human being!
Why are robots created in the first place?
You might be asking this question right now, and it is normal to be curious about a thing’s reason for existence. To answer this question, humans created robots so that they do not have to exert energy in doing repetitive tasks. This creates a new opportunity for them to use their energy in doing other productive activities.
Most robots are used in technical industries such as automobiles. If you think about it, it would take a long time for a group of humans to successfully finish building a car. That is why there are robots or machinery that do these energy-demanding tasks.
Aside from that, there are extreme conditions that are harmful to humans. This includes deep underground excavations, entering boiling temperatures and staying in frigid climates. If humans stay in these conditions for a long time, it can be harmful to their health. As a solution to this, robots take their places. Attached to them are cameras so that people can control and see what is going on around them.
Now, what is a robot?
Now that you know why robots exist, it is time for you to find out what they are. Robots, aside from it being related to robotics, are any automatically operated machine that replaces human effort. Their appearances can replicate a human being, but most often they have unique shapes and sizes depending on their purpose.
There are different types of robots, and each one of them has different purposes. Find out what they are in the next section:
- Pre-Programmed Robots
These kinds of robots are present in controlled environments, and they only have a basic set of tasks to complete. The best example of this is the mechanical arms you find in automotive brands. They are in charge of executing monotonous tasks speedily and efficiently. These include welding a door, attaching small parts and installing engines to an automobile.
- Humanoid Robots
From its name, humanoid robots are self-explanatory. They take the form and mimic the behaviour of a human being. Unlike pre-programmed robots, humanoids have a wide range of motion such as walking, running, jumping and even speaking. Moreover, these kinds of robots can exist in both controlled and uncontrolled environments.
The most famous robot in the world is Sophia, a product of Hanson Robotics from Hong Kong. She is programmed to interact and imitates any expression created by humans. On top of that, Sophia has an amazing artificial intelligence that is programmed to make her smarter over time.
- Autonomous Robots
Autonomous robots are the ones who do not need any human supervision. In a way, they are also what you call independent mechanical beings. This is possible because of the multiple sensors present all over their bodies. These allow them to perceive the open environment and execute decision-making actions.
The best example of autonomous robots is the Roomba vacuum cleaner. This small, compact and circular gadget can clean your home for you while you are away. Underneath it, this vacuum cleaner has a piezoelectric sensor that can notice any kind of dirt present on the floor. When this sensor hits any particle, it will send pulses to the Roomba and prompt it to thoroughly clean the area.
- Teleoperated Robots
On the other hand, teleoperated robots are semi-autonomous creations that have a wireless connection to enable a human to control them. This type of robot is best suited for extreme activities such as deep excavations or underwater adventures. With teleoperated robots, there is no threatening risk for the operator. That is why there are robotic submarines that researchers can use to explore the ocean deep.
- Augmenting Robots
One of the greatest technological advancements ever is augmenting robots. These help humans enhance their current abilities or restore the ones that were lost. As such, you can find most of these robots in the medical industry. Robotic prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons are good examples, and they help paralympic people walk or function with no trouble.
The start of robotics
Of course, you should also know how robotics started in the first place. The study of robots did not emerge until 1920 when Czech writer, Karel Capek, used the word ‘robotics’ in his play called Rossum’s Universal Robots. Later on, the famous science fiction author, Isaac Asimov, wrote three rules that guide the behaviour of autonomous robots and smart machines:
- Robots must never harm human beings.
- Robots must follow instructions from humans without violating rule number one.
- Robots must protect themselves without violating other rules.
While this was only a work of fiction, most of the robots produced in the future followed the guidelines.
Reasons why you should study robotics
Now, you are at the part where you ask yourself what is in it for you in robotics. Here is a list of reasons why you should dive into the study of building and manufacturing robots:
- You are hitting two birds with one stone
In robotics, your goal is to produce a robot that can deliver a certain set of tasks. Before you get there, you need to study programming and coding, which both fall under the field of computer science. Here, you will learn how to create conditional statements and codes that will make your robot move. Besides that, you also need to delve into some parts of engineering concerning the shape, size and mechanics of your robot.
- It is fun to make a series of trial and error
Repetitive trial and error can be annoying or a nuisance for you because it is quite frustrating to not get the correct set of instructions. While this is true, it also serves as a learning opportunity for you! All the errors motivate you to identify what part went wrong and why. When you finally make things work, you get the right to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. This is one of the best things about robotics because you are testing your knowledge and limits as well.
- Robotics tests your creativity and imagination
Believe it or not, robotics also has art incorporated into its lessons. This is because it allows you to be creative and think outside the box. Moreover, robotics lets you experiment with different aspects of your project. Doing so can satisfy your curiosity, which can be a rewarding experience for you to try!
- There is a wide range of opportunities available for you
Robotics provides you with a future that is flexible and in line with your career goals. When you study this, you have a wide range of opportunities to choose from! Each chance will ask you to demonstrate your skills and expertise in delivering certain tasks.
- The chance to contribute to society is in your hands
Most importantly, robotics allows you to contribute to the advancement of society. By combining your creativity and innovation, you can create something that will be helpful for the betterment of humans!
If you want to know more about robotics or anything related to it, you can visit the website of Tecnoesis to learn more.