Robotics – Short Explanation

Robotics is a massive field of study and spans engineering, science, manufacturing, and more. Put in simple terms, robotics is the creation of machines – robots – that are able to work and function in the real world in a similar fashion to humans.

Humans have long envisioned robots or thinking machines as partners and later adversaries in books and film. Popularized by movies like Star Wars and the Terminator, robots continue to fascinate people around the world. Robots, while different in type, shape, and function, share some similar characteristics that define them.

  1. Robots are mechanical in construction. The construction itself is based around the tasks the robot is designed to perform. Wheels on a stationary robot do not make sense, while they are essential for exploratory robots.
  2. Robots need electrical power in some fashion to work – whether that is a battery or through a hardwired connection.
  3. Robots have specific code hardwired into them that define their responsibilities and actions.

Robotics in the Real World

Robots started to impact businesses and individuals in a big way in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Primarily used in manufacturing, by 2005, close to 90% of robots were in use within automotive facilities. At that time, robots were relatively simple machines designed with a particular task in mind. That is changing, and robots today have evolved considerably from those simple machines. Now robots are used to explore the Earth and our nearest neighbor; they work with law enforcement and even assist in helping us get well.

There are many different types of robots, and they vary in shape and size. Generally, speaking robots are designed to perform a specific task, and their form is built around performing that task most efficiently. An example of this is a robotic arm used in an assembly line. This arm has only a single function, and extraneous additions only detract from its ability to perform that function.

Robots are used across a host of different industries in the real world. In manufacturing, they are used to help assemble the product, and this is where robots are most well known. However, in recent years robots have taken a more significant role within logistics facilities also with robots deployed in warehouses around the world. Robots are not only used in business though – they play a big role in healthcare and also “cleaning up” in the home!

Robotics in the World of AI

When discussing robots in the world of AI, it is essential to understand that currently, there are no robots capable of replicating the feats of Arnold in the Terminator. Autonomous robots are capable of operating without significant supervision, but even in this case they have a very clearly defined scope of responsibility. A great example of an autonomous robot is a robotic vacuum cleaner. Here the vacuum cleaner uses sensors to navigate a room or a home and will clean up dust and debris within the scope of its area.