cool hit counter A very detailed breakdown of how robots work!_Intefrankly

A very detailed breakdown of how robots work!


When many people hear the word "robot", the words "cool", "powerful" and "high-end" come to mind, and they think that robots are just like the Terminator in science fiction movies. Actually, no, in this article, we will explore the basic concepts of robotics and learn how robots accomplish their tasks.

1 Components of the robot

At its most basic level, the human body consists of five main components.

-Body structure

-Muscular system, used to move body structures

-sensory system for receiving information about the body and the surrounding environment

-Energy source, used to energize muscles and senses

The brain system, which processes sensory information and directs muscle movements

Of course, there are intangible human traits, such as intelligence and morality, but on a purely physical level, this list is fairly complete.

The components of a robot are extremely similar to those of a human. A typical robot has a mobile body structure, a motor-like device, a sensing system, a power source, and a computer "brain" to control all of these elements. In essence, robots are "animals" made by humans, machines that mimic human and animal behavior.

Bionic kangaroo robot

Robots are defined in a wide range of ways, from industrial robots for factory service to small home cleaning robots. By the broadest definition available, something is a robot if it is considered by many people to be a robot. Many roboticists (people who build robots) use a more precise definition. They specify that the robot should have a reprogrammable brain (a computer) for moving the body.

By this definition, robots differ from other moveable machines (such as cars) in their computer elements. Many newer cars have an on-board computer, but only use it to make minor adjustments. The driver has direct control of most of the vehicle's components through various mechanical devices. Whereas robots differ from ordinary computers in their physical characteristics, they are each attached to a body in a way that ordinary computers are not.

Most robots do share some common characteristics

First, almost all robots have a body that can move. Some have nothing more than motorized wheels, while others have a large number of movable parts, which are generally made of metal or plastic. Similar to the human skeleton, these separate parts are joined together with joints.

The wheels of the robot are connected to the axle with some kind of transmission. Some robots use motors and solenoids as actuators; others use hydraulic systems; and still others use pneumatic systems (systems driven by compressed gas). The robot can use any of the above types of drives. Metalworking is really good.

Secondly, the robot needs a source of energy to drive these actuators. Most robots will use batteries or a wall outlet to power them. In addition, hydraulic robots require a pump to pressurize the fluid, while pneumatic robots require a gas compressor or compressed gas tank.

All drives are connected to a piece of circuitry via wires. This circuit directly powers the electric motor and screw coil and manipulates the electronic valve to activate the hydraulic system. Valves control the path of pressurized fluid flow through the machine. For example, if the robot were to move a hydraulically driven leg, its controller would open a valve that is led by a hydraulic pump to a piston barrel on the leg. The pressure-bearing fluid will push the piston, rotating the leg forward. Typically, robots use pistons that provide bi-directional thrust to allow the part to move in both directions.

The robot's computer can control all the components connected to the circuit. To get the robot moving, the computer turns on all the motors and valves needed. Most robots are reprogrammable. To change the behavior of a particular robot, you simply write a new program to its computer.

Not all robots have sensing systems. Few robots have vision, hearing, smell or taste. One of the most common feelings a robot has is its sense of motion, its ability to monitor its movements. In the standard design, the robot's joints are fitted with grooved wheels.

On one side of the wheel there is a light emitting diode which emits a beam of light which passes through the groove and shines on a light sensor located on the other side of the wheel. When the robot moves a particular joint, the wheel with the grooves turns. During this process, the notch will block the beam. The optical sensor reads the pattern of the beam flash and transmits the data to the computer. The computer can calculate exactly how far the joint has rotated based on this pattern. The basic system used in the computer mouse is the same as this.

These are the basic components of a robot. There are countless ways that robotics experts can combine these elements to create infinitely complex robots. The machine arm is one of the most common designs.

2 How robots work

The English term "robot" comes from the Czech word robota, which usually translates as "forced laborer". It is very apt to describe most robots. Most of the world's robots are used to perform heavy, repetitive manufacturing tasks. They are responsible for tasks that are very difficult, dangerous or boring for humans.

The most common type of manufacturing robot is the robot arm. A typical robot arm is made up of seven metal parts that are joined together with six joints. The computer will rotate stepper motors that are connected to each joint separately in order to control the robot (some large robot arms use hydraulic or pneumatic systems). Unlike a normal motor, a stepper motor will move precisely in increments. This allows the computer to move the robot arm precisely so that the arm repeats the exact same action over and over again. The robot uses motion sensors to make sure it moves exactly the right amount.

The industrial robot with six joints closely resembles a human arm, with the equivalent of a shoulder, elbow and wrist. Its "shoulders" are usually mounted on a fixed base structure (rather than a moving body). This type of robot has six degrees of freedom, which means that it can turn in six different directions. In contrast, the human arm has seven degrees of freedom.

Joints of a six-axis industrial robot

The role of the human arm is to move the hand into different positions. Similarly, the role of the robot arm is to move the end-effector. You can mount a variety of end-effectors on the robot arm for specific application scenarios. There is a common end-effector that grips and moves different items, and it is a simplified version of the human hand. Robots often have built-in pressure sensors that are used to tell a computer how hard the robot is gripping a particular object. This keeps objects from falling or being crushed in the robot's hands. Other end-effectors include torches, drills and paint sprayers.

Industrial robots are specifically designed to perform the exact same job over and over again in a controlled environment. For example, a particular robot might be responsible for screwing on the lid of a peanut butter jar being transferred on an assembly line. To teach the robot how to do this job, the programmer will use a handheld controller to guide the robot arm through the entire set of movements. The robot stores the exact sequence of movements in memory and thereafter does this set of movements repeatedly whenever a new can is transferred on the assembly line.

The machine arm is one of the basic components used in the manufacture of cars

Most industrial robots work on automotive assembly lines to assemble cars. Robots are much more efficient than humans when it comes to doing a lot of this type of work because they are so precise. No matter how many hours they have been working, they still drill in the same position and screw with the same force. Manufacturing robots also play a very important role in the computer industry. Their immensely precise dexterous hands can assemble a very small microchip.

Machine arms are relatively easy to build and program because they only work in a limited area. Things get a little more complicated if you're sending robots out into the wide, outside world.

The primary challenge is to provide a viable motion system for the robot. If the robot only needs to move on flat ground, wheels or rails are often the best option. They are also suitable for more rugged terrain if the wheels and tracks are wide enough. But designers of robots often want to use leg-like structures because they are more adaptable. Building robots with legs also helps to make researchers aware of natural kinematics, which is a useful practice in the field of biological research.

The legs of the robot usually move backwards and forwards driven by hydraulic or pneumatic pistons. The individual pistons are attached to different leg parts, like muscles attached to different bones. It would certainly be a challenge to get all these pistons to work together in the right way. In the infant stage, the human brain has to figure out which muscles need to contract at the same time in order to make it possible to walk upright without falling over.

Similarly, the designer of the robot must figure out the correct combination of piston motions associated with walking and program this information into the robot's computer. Many mobile robots have a built-in balancing system (such as a set of gyroscopes) that tells the computer when the robot's movements need to be corrected.

Boston Dynamics' latest upgraded version of the Atlas humanoid robot

The way the two-legged walk moves is itself unstable, so it is extremely difficult to achieve in the manufacture of robots. In order to design robots that walk more steadily, designers often look to the animal world, especially insects. Insects have six legs and are often extremely balanced and adaptable to many different terrains.

Some mobile robots are remotely controlled and humans can direct them to perform specific tasks at certain times. The remote control can communicate with the robot using a cable, radio or infrared signal. Metalworking is really good. Remote robots, often referred to as puppet robots, are useful when exploring environments that are dangerous or inaccessible to humans, such as deep seas or inside volcanoes. Some robots are only partially remotely controlled. For example, an operator might instruct a robot to reach a particular location, but instead of directing it, let it find its own way.

NASA develops R2, a remotely controllable space robot

Automated robots can act autonomously and do not depend on any controller. The basic principle is to program a robot to respond to external stimuli in a certain way. The extremely simple collision-response robot can be a good illustration of this principle.

This robot has a collision sensor that is used to check for obstacles. When you start the robot, it roughly zigzags along a straight line. When it hits an obstacle, the impact force acts on its collision sensors. Each time a collision occurs, the robot's program instructs it to back up, turn right again, and then continue on. Following this method, the robot changes its direction whenever it encounters an obstacle.

Advanced robots will use this principle in a more subtle way. Robotics experts will develop new programs and sensing systems in order to create robots with greater intelligence and greater sensing capabilities. Today's robots can make a big difference in a variety of environments.

Simpler mobile robots use infrared or ultrasonic sensors to sense obstacles. These sensors work in a similar way to an animal's echolocation system: the robot sends out an acoustic signal (or a beam of infrared light) and detects the reflection of the signal. The robot will calculate the distance between it and the obstacle based on the time it takes for the signal to reflect.

The more advanced robots use stereo vision to see the world around them. Two cameras provide the robot with depth perception, while image recognition software gives the robot the ability to locate objects and identify various objects. The robot can also use microphones and scent sensors to analyze its surroundings.

Certain automated robots can only work in the limited environment they are familiar with. For example, mowing robots rely on boundary markers buried in the ground to determine the extent of a pasture. And the robots used to clean the office need a map of the building in order to move between locations.

More advanced robots can analyze and adapt to unfamiliar environments, even to areas with rough terrain. These robots can associate specific terrain patterns with specific movements. For example, a rover robot would use its vision sensors to generate a map of the ground ahead. If the map shows a rugged terrain pattern, the robot will know it should take another path. Such a system would be very useful for exploratory robots working on other planets.

One alternative set of robot design solutions uses a looser structure that introduces an element of randomization. When this robot is stuck, it moves its appendages in all directions until its movements produce an effect. It accomplishes its task through force sensors and actuators working closely together, rather than a computer directing everything through a program. There are parallels to when ants try to get around an obstacle: ants don't seem to make a snap decision when they need to get past an obstacle, but keep trying various approaches until they get around it.

3 Home-made robots

In the final parts of this article, we take a look at the most compelling areas of the robotics world: artificial intelligence and research-based robots. Experts in these fields have made great strides in robotics science over the years, but they are not the only makers of robots. For decades, the small but passionate number of people who have made this a hobby have been building robots in garages and basements around the world.

Homebrew bots are a rapidly growing subculture that has considerable influence on the Internet. Amateur roboticists assemble their own creations using a variety of commercial robotics tools, mail-order parts, toys and even vintage VCRs.

As with professional robots, there are a variety of homemade robots for the home. Some robotics enthusiasts who can't work until the weekend have built very nifty walking machines, while others have designed domestic robots for themselves, and still others are keen to build competitive robots. The most familiar of the competitive robots are the remote-controlled robot warriors, as you see on BattleBots. These machines are not considered "real robots" because they do not have a reprogrammable computer brain. They are just enhanced RC cars.

The more advanced competitive robots are controlled by computers. For example, soccer robots play mini-soccer matches without any human input at all. A standard robot football team consists of several individual robots that communicate with a central computer. The computer "watches" the whole pitch through a camera and distinguishes the football, the goal and the players of its own and the opposing team according to their colours. The computer is always processing such information and deciding how to direct its team.

Adaptability and versatility

The personal computer revolution is marked by its remarkable adaptability. Standardized hardware and programming languages allow computer engineers and amateur programmers to build computers for their specific purposes. Computer parts have several similarities to craft supplies, and their uses are innumerable.

Most robots to date are more like kitchen appliances. Robotics experts build them to be specialized for specific uses. But they don't adapt very well to completely different application scenarios.

This is changing. A company called Evolution Robotics has pioneered the field of adaptive robotics software and hardware. The company hopes to carve out its own niche with an easy-to-use "robotics developer's kit".

The toolkit has an open software platform that specializes in a variety of commonly used robot functions. Robotics, for example, can easily give their work the ability to track targets, listen to voice commands, and bypass obstacles. From a technical point of view, these features are not revolutionary, but unusually, they are integrated in a simple software package.

This kit also comes with some common robot hardware that can be easily integrated with the software. The standard kit provides a number of IR sensors, motors, a microphone and a camera. Robotics experts can put all of these parts together with a reinforced mounting kit that includes a number of aluminum body parts and strong, durable wheels.

Of course, this kit is not for you to produce mediocre work. It retails for over $700 and is by no means a cheap toy. However, it's a big step towards a new kind of robotics science. In the not too distant future, if you were to build a new type of robot that could clean your room or take care of your pets while you're away, you could probably do it by writing a BASIC program, which would save you a ton of money.

4 Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly the most exciting area of robotics, and undoubtedly the most controversial: everyone agrees that a robot can work on an assembly line, but there is disagreement as to whether it can be intelligent.

Just like the term "robotics" itself, it is equally difficult to define "artificial intelligence". The ultimate AI is a reproduction of the human thought process, i.e. an artificial machine with human intelligence. Artificial intelligence includes the ability to learn anything, the ability to reason, the ability to speak, and the ability to form one's own opinions. Robotics experts are currently far from being able to achieve this level of AI, but they have made great strides in a limited number of AI areas. Today, machines with artificial intelligence can already mimic certain specific elements of intelligence.

Computers already have the ability to solve problems in a limited domain. The execution of problem solving with artificial intelligence is complex, but the fundamentals are very simple. First, an AI robot or computer will gather facts about a scenario through sensors (or by way of manual input). The computer compares this information with the information already stored to determine what it means. The computer will calculate various possible actions based on the information collected and then predict which action will work best. Of course, a computer can only solve problems that its program allows it to solve; it does not have the ability to analyze in a general sense. A chess computer is an example of such a machine.

Some modern robots also have limited learning capabilities. A learning robot can recognize whether a certain action (e.g., moving a leg in a certain way) achieves a desired outcome (e.g., going around an obstacle). The robot stores this type of information and when it next encounters the same scenario, it tries to perform an action that it can successfully respond to. Again, modern computers can only do this in a very limited number of scenarios. They can't collect all types of information like humans can. Some robots can learn by mimicking human movements. In Japan, robotics experts demonstrated dance moves to a robot so it could learn to dance.

Some robots have human communication capabilities. kismet is a robot made by the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab that recognizes human body language and the pitch of speech and responds accordingly. The authors of Kismet are interested in the way adults and infants interact with each other based on tone of voice and visual information alone. This low-level interaction can serve as the basis for a human-like learning system.

kismet robot

Kismet and other robots built by MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory use an unconventional control structure. These robots do not use one central computer to control all of their movements; their low-level movements are controlled by low-level computers. Rodney Brooks, the project director, believes it is a more accurate model of human intelligence. Most human actions are made automatically, rather than by the highest level of consciousness deciding to do them.

The real challenge in artificial intelligence is understanding how natural intelligence works. Developing artificial intelligence is different from building an artificial heart, and scientists don't have a simple and specific model in hand to work from. We know that the brain contains tens of billions of neurons, and that we think and learn by making electronic connections between different neurons. But we don't know how these connections enable high-level reasoning capabilities, or even how the lower-level operations are implemented. The brain's neural networks seem incomprehensibly complex.

As a result, AI is still largely theoretical. Scientists develop hypotheses about how humans learn and think, and then use robots to experiment with their ideas.

Just as the physical design of robots is a handy tool for understanding animal and human anatomy, the study of artificial intelligence helps to understand how natural intelligence works. For some roboticists, this insight is the ultimate goal of designing robots. Others are imagining a world in which humans live with intelligent machines, in which they use a variety of small robots for manual labor, health care, and communication. Many robotics experts predict that the evolution of robots will eventually make us completely semi-robotic, i.e. human beings integrated with machines. There is reason to believe that future humans will live for thousands of years with their minds implanted in robust robots!

In any case, robots will play an important role in our daily lives in the future. In the coming decades, robots will gradually expand beyond industry and science into everyday life, similar to the gradual spread of computers into homes beginning in the 1980s.


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