Robotics is a branch of Engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots. This field overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology, and bioengineering.
Parts of a Robot
Robots come in many shapes and sizes. The industrial robots resemble an inverted human arm mounted on a base. Robots consist of a number of components that work together: the controller, the manipulator, an end effector, sensors, a power supply, and a means for programming.
a. The controller is the part of a robot that coordinates all movements of the mechanical system. It also receives input from the immediate environment through various sensors. The heart of the robot’s controller is generally a microprocessor linked to input/output and monitoring devices.
a. The manipulator consists of segments that may be jointed and that move about, allowing the robot to do work. The manipulator is the arm of the robot which must move materials, parts, tools, or special devices through various motions to provide useful work.
3. End Effector
a. The end effector is the robot’s hand, or the end-of-arm tooling on the robot. It is a device attached to the wrist of the manipulator for the purpose of grasping, lifting, transporting, maneuvering, or performing operations on a workpiece.
a. Robot Vision Sensors are what allow a robot to gather information about its environment. This information can be used to guide the robot’s behavior. Some sensors are relatively familiar pieces of equipment.
Classification of Robots
• Robots are categorized depending upon the circuits of the Robots and the variety of application it can perform. The robots are classified into 3 types:
– Simple level Robots
– Middle level Robots
– Complex level Robots
Types of Robots
A robot needs to be above all functional and designed with qualities that suit its primary tasks. It depends on the task at hand whether the robot is big, small, and able to move or nailed to the ground. Generally robots can be divided into following categories-
• Mobile Robots – Mobile robots are able to move, usually they perform task such as search areas. A prime example is the Mars Explorer, specifically designed to roam the mars surface. Further mobile robots can be divided in two categories:
– Rolling Robots: Rolling robots have wheels to move around.
– Walking Robots: Robots on legs are usually brought in when the terrain is rocky and difficult to enter with wheels.
• Stationary Robots – Robots are not only used to explore areas or imitate a human being. Most robots perform repeating tasks without ever moving an inch. Most robots are ‘working’ in industry settings.
• Autonomous Robots – Autonomous robots are self supporting or in other words self contained. In a way they rely on their own ‘brains’. Autonomous robots run a program that give them the opportunity to decide on the action to perform depending on their surroundings. At times these robots even learn new behavior.
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
• The term “artificial intelligence” is defined as systems that combine sophisticated hardware and software with elaborate databases and knowledge-based processing models to demonstrate characteristics of effective human decision making.
The criteria for Artificial Systems include the following:
• Functional: The system must be capable of performing the function for which it has been designed.
• Able to manufacture: The system must be capable of being manufactured by existing manufacturing processes
• Designable: The design of the system must be imaginable by designers working in their cultural context;
• Marketable: The system must be perceived to serve some purpose well enough, when compared to competing approaches, to warrant its design and manufacture.
1. Industrial Sector: Industrial robots are electronically controlled, both programmable and reprogrammable to carry out certain tasks with high precision and accuracy.
2. Aerospace: Another application of robots is in aerospace for outer space exploration. Aerospace robots or unmanned robotic spacecraft play a key role in outer space probe.
3. Healthcare Delivery: A highly possible advancement in healthcare is using robots in robotic surgery. Due to technological advancement, this is possible even if the patient is located in remote areas. This possibility defies distance.
4. Outer Space: Robotic arms that are under the control of a human being are employed to unload the docking cove of outer-space shuttles to launch satellites or to build a space station.
5. The Intelligent Home: Robotic systems can nowadays scrutinize home safety, ecological circumstances and energy consumption.
6. Exploration: Robots can enter the environments that are injurious to human beings. An illustration is observing the atmosphere within a volcano or investigating our deep marine life.
7. Military Robots: Flying robot drones are brought into play for close watch in present time’s modern armed force.
8. Disaster Areas: Observation robots built-in with superior sensing and imaging gears. This robot can work in dangerous environments like urban site spoiled by earthquakes by inspecting floors, walls and roofs for structural reality.
9. Entertainment: Interactive robots that shows behaviors and education capability. One such robot is owned by SONY which moves around freely, responds to all your commands, carries your luggage and even responds to your oral instructions.
10. Agriculture: Programmed robots are used by harvesters to cut and collect crops. Robotic milk farms are existing permitting workers to nourish and milk their cattle distantly.
11. Service robot: “A service robot is a robot which operates semi or fully Autonomously to perform services useful to the well-being of humans and equipment, excluding manufacturing operations.”
12. Education: Robots are used as educational assistants to teachers. There are robot kits like Lego Mindstorms, BIOLOID, OLLO from ROBOTIS, or BotBrain Educational Robots can help children to learn about mathematics, physics, programming and electronics.
Military Robots (Robotic soldier)
• Military robots are autonomous robots or remote-controlled mobile robots designed for military applications, from transport to search & rescue and attack.
• There are also moves being made to develop cyborg soldiers – Humans and animals augmented by technology.
Some examples are:
a. Terminator-Style Humanoids: One such robot is Atlas, a 6’2″ machine that walks on 2 legs and is designed – At least for the time being For disaster relief.
b. Four-legged Carrier Mules: AlphaDog is a 4-legged horse/mule robot designed for military purposes to carry heavy loads of equipment. The sturdy machine can run across uneven and rocky terrain and it can also right itself very easily if it is pushed over or falls
c. Bomb-disposal Bots : Bomb disposal is a highly-skilled and risky profession, so it makes complete sense to let a robot get up close and personal with the explosives, while the human commander can watch and give commands from afar.
d. Stealthy Spybots : The US Navy has been working on a swarm of robot boats that work together autonomously to overwhelm a target. The boats are designed to follow a bigger boat like a pack of guard dogs and then attack on command using weapons if necessary.
e. Sleepless Sentries : Along border between North and South Korea are dotted weaponised robot sentries that are alert 24 hours per day. It can detect intruders using machine vision and fire at targets 3 miles away. The system requires no human presence
f. Drone Aircraft Carriers: The sky-based aircraft carrier would be useful for releasing surveillance and killing missions without putting pilots at risk
g. Cyborg Super Soldiers: Instead of replacing humans with robots, why not augment humans with wearable computers, helmet visors with a heads-up display and night vision as well as robotic exoskeletons for super-human strength.
Medical Robots (Robotic Medicine)
• A medical robot is a robot that allows surgeons greater access to areas under operation using more precise and less invasive methods.
• In the field of medical robotics, the word robot is just as fuzzily defined, with many different applications. These range from simplistic laboratory robots, to highly complex surgical robots that can either aid a human surgeon or execute operations by themselves.
• Applications The use of robots is not confined to the operating theatre. Other application areas where medical robots prove useful include:
• Laboratory Robots: Laboratory robots carry out hundreds of tests (e.g. blood testing for HIV) in parallel, saving time and freeing manpower for other purposes.
• Hospital Robots: As hospital staff is in short supply, mobile robots in hospitals can help by fetching or distributing medicine, while patient handling robots may assist in the lifting and positioning of patients that are difficult to manage.
• Rehabilitation Robots: Rehabilitation robots are robots that help permanently or temporarily disabled people with the matters that they cannot deal with themselves.
• Robotic Surgery: Robotic surgery is the process whereby a robot actually carries out a surgical procedure under the control of nothing other than its computer program. Although a surgeon almost certainly will be involved in the planning of the procedure to be performed and will also observe the implementation of that plan, the execution of the plan will not be accomplished by them – but by the robot.
Development of Robotics in India
• Daksh: It is developed by (DRDO) Defense Research and Development Organization. It is one of the most current military robots of India. It is an electrically powered and remote controlled robot which is used to locate, handle and destroy risky objects safely. The main role of this military robot is to recover improvised explosive devices. This robot can even climb stairs. Moreover, it can also scan objects using its portable X-ray Device.
• AGRIBOT – Agriculture Robot: The advantages of Agri-robot which is developed in India is that it can become an admirable agriculture aid for the farmer. The high cost of labor and the increasing need for assisted living has led to the development of the service robotics market. This automated system will be most essential appliance for our society as India is the 2nd largest producer of vegetable crops in the world.
Future of Robotics in India
Due to Globalization and High Industrialization, Robotics in India has a bright future mainly in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), packaging and inspection. Skill development technologies, Defense and Healthcare system are also promising sectors in future. Robotic solutions that can solve the problems of the acute shortage of the Blue Collar talent in India and that will develop separate robotics industry in India.