What is a Robot?

14 Dec

Robot..?? well to say,lets start with the definition of a robot…The wikipiedia defines robot as a virtual or mechanical artificial agent. In practice, it is usually an electro-mechanical machine which is guided by computer or electronic programming, and is thus able to do tasks on its own. Another common characteristic is that by its appearance or movements, a robot often conveys a sense that it has intent or agency of its own.

A simple robot can be divided into following parts :

1)Robotic brains

Analogue brains:It is possible to control your robots actuators (motors etc) using ‘hard wired’ circuits. By making circuits from capacitors, transistors and resistors you can make robots that can follow simple rules. For example, if they hit a wall a simple switch positioned on the front of the robot would be pressed in and the robot would be able to reverse and turn, hopefully avoiding the obstacle on its next pass.

Analogue brains have their disadvantages though. They require quite a good knowledge of electronics to design, and once they are built are very difficult to change. If you want to change the behavior of your design you will probably need to totally rebuild your analogue brain.

Digital brains:Devices called micro controllers make perfect ‘brains’ for robots. They are small computers on a single chip, containing their own memory and processor, and can be programmed by a PC to control your robot in any way you can imagine.

What makes micro controllers so good is that they can be re programmed again and again with just a click of a mouse. There is no need to get the soldering iron out and start messing with components like analogue circuits.

Programming these chips is fairly easy to learn, but may take a bit of patience to fully understand. Learning to program by sticking your head in a textbook and trying to memorize programs is a very slow and boring way to learn. By far the easiest way to master programming is to have a go, work through a few tutorials and try out some examples. By playing about and trying ideas you’ll soon get an understanding of how programs work, and how you can write your own.

2)Motors :These help in movement of the bot according to the signals sent by the brain or the micro controller . The microcontoller is programmed in such a way that they give instructions to the motor and in movement in the X-Y plan. The movement is based on simple ON-OFF mechanisms

3)Sensors: These can be otherwise known as eve of the bot . They detect the surrounding and send signals to the microcontroller . This information is then processed and the output is sent to the motor or any other output device. There are various types of sensors such as IR-LED sensor , positional encoders , ultrasonic range sensor , etc

4)Bodywork:The bodywork is based on the requirements ie. for which the robot is to be built . Depending on them the various needs the robot is built.well!! below u can see a picture of a simple line follower




One Response to “What is a Robot?”

  1. Greg January 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    This answers the important basic questions about what a robot actually is. There are many misconceptions, which hold back progression. Starting from the beginning is a great place to start.

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