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Robots – An introduction

Robots, the very mention of the word flashes in front of our eyes a kaleidoscope of disparate images filled with illusions and
science fiction creativities. Fact is not far away from fiction if not more stranger than fiction. The exponentially increasing
penetration of artificial intelligence coupled with technology is on course to make many of those fictions a reality.

A generally accepted definition of robot would be ‘an artificial machine meant to reduce human effort’. Although the
definition is as ambiguous as the field itself, robots can be more precisely defined based upon the operation performed by
them. Robotics is the science of designing/making robots.

The word ‘robot’ was coined by the Czech writer Carel Kapek and it means ‘a slave’. The word ‘Robotics’ was coined by Sir
Issac Asimov in his science fiction ‘I,Robot’. He has stated the three primary laws for robots as:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with
the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second
Law.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics)

The first general classification of robots would be based upon their method of operation:

1. Manual robot.

2. Semi automatic robot.

3. Fully automatic intelligent robot.

Manual robot: These are robots meant to ease human work load by performing various tasks and are directly controlled by
humans. They do not posses any form of intelligence and all its activities are controlled by a human being. A typical example
of such a robot would be a battery operated car being controlled by a remote control (either wired or wireless).

A typical rc car.

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Manual robots can be of varying degree of complexity ranging from a simple remote controlled toy car to a complex high
functionality military surveillance robot. The extent of complexity involved depends upon the application for which the
robot has been designed.

A military tank robot operated by a human.

Semi automatic robot: These robots do possess some intelligence and are capable of performing certain tasks on its own.
But for certain important tasks, they rely on human beings to instruct them. A very typical example would be the military
robot which has sensors (cameras, SONAR, infra red sensors, etc) to extract information about its surrounding and convey
this information to the human. It would be a human to finally decide how to maneuver the robot and when to fire the gun.

A military robot laden with a gun and remotely operated by a human being.

Robosense training private ltd; #311 Indus Innova, 4th floor; Mahadevpura ; Bangalore -560048 www.robosense.in
ROBOSENSE training private ltd.
Success is not a coincidence; it’s a result of thoughtful planning, determined efforts and flawless execution.

Fully automatic robot: A fully automatic robot is an artificially intelligent robot capable of functioning without any human
intervention. It has all built in intelligence to receive inputs from various sensors and compute the output for the future
course of action. A typical example would be an exploration robot which explores an unknown area sending images and
other vital information to the base station and navigates obstacles and performs intelligent path planning on its own.

Xplorer – an autonomous navigation robot.

Another way of classifying robots can be based upon their functionality.

a. Stationery robot: These robots are immobile and perform their tasks from one fixed place. These robots can be
manual, semi automatic as well as fully automatic machines. A typical example would be a robotic arm working in a
car manufacturing unit.

Robosense training private ltd; #311 Indus Innova, 4th floor; Mahadevpura ; Bangalore -560048 www.robosense.in
ROBOSENSE training private ltd.
Success is not a coincidence; it’s a result of thoughtful planning, determined efforts and flawless execution.

b. Surveillance robots: These robots are used for the purpose of remote surveillance of an area. A typical example
would be web camera equipped remote controlled robot. These robots generally fall under the category of manual
and semi automatic robots.

c. Underwater robots: These robots perform various tasks under the water, especially under sea.

d. Aerial robots: as the name suggests, these robots are air borne machines.

There can be further classification of robots based upon the terrain on which they operate their drive mechanism, their
capabilities, etc.

As a matter of fact, each robot is an unique machine in its own way existing to assist humans in one way or the other.

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