In simple words, Robotics is a branch of technology which deals with engineering, conception, design, manufacture and operation of robots. The term ‘Robotics’ was first coined by Isaac Asimov, a science fiction author who had first used this term in a short story back in the 1940s. Robotics enables the engineers to develop robots that can assist humans and also replicate and simulate specific industrial activities which are considered dangerous, dull or monotonous. Robots are machines that can be programmed to do a series of actions autonomously or semi-autonomously. However, some experts are of the opinion that a robot must be able to think and make decisions. Now, getting a robot to think suggests that it has some high level of artificial intelligence (AI). Whatever way you choose to define a robot, robotic involves designing, constructing, and programming physical robots. However, a small part of it involves artificial intelligence (AI).
Robots are mostly designed to look like a human being or an animal. The robots are manufactured to replicate the human behavior like walking, running, lifting, speaking and cognition. With innovations at an astounding pace along with technology enhancements in sensors, connectivity, and computing capabilities, robotics industry is making waves when it comes to manufacturing more complex, and sophisticated robots that can be integrated into industries like health, defence, production, and any more to improve their operational efficiency. Robots are also used to detect bombs and deactivation of the same. They are being used in the outer space and to carry out various activities in the nuclear power plants. There’s no restraint of work hours and robots can be efficient to perform the assigned tasks throughout.
Now, let us discuss some important applications of Robotics:
Manufacturing Robots: Now that we know robots have the ability to operate for hours at a stretch without making negligible errors, a number of industries have already started to implement robotics on to their operations to improve efficiency.
Military Robots: Right from diffusing lethal bombs to carrying out highly secretive tasks and executing stealth missions, robots are increasingly being used in a lot of military activities. These highly sophisticated robots can be remotely controlled from any location and are a great help because they help avoid direct human casualties.
Medical Robots: We have all heard of laser surgeries and now the doctors have started using robots for complicated surgeries that need extreme precision. This has helped reduce any medical error that could happen due to inefficient or faulty medical procedures.
Agricultural Robots: Agriculture is the backbone of most of the economies and our existence depends heavily on it. Industrial revolution has made things easier for most of us but with growing economies and a rise in world population, need to improve efficiency is a must. And robots are being used in huge numbers in massive agricultural tasks and their need is only increasing.
There are three major categories of robots. Let’s find out what are these and the different types of robots and their controlling mechanism:
Manual: As the name suggests, these robots have to be operated manually and they cannot operate on their own. They need instructions from the user. A crane is very common example for this category.
Semi-Autonomous: These types of robots take a required amount of input from the user and then perform the tasks on their own. They don’t need step by step instruction like the manual robots do. Bluetooth or mobile controlled robot is a very good example for semi-autonomous robot.
Autonomous: These types of robots have the ability to perform all their tasks completely on their own with zero human actuation and interaction. Autonomous robots are embedded with sensors that can detect and guide the robot’s motion with the assistance or help of a micro-controller. An Edge Detection Robot or a Fire Fighting Robot is an apt example for this category.
Robots are and will become an essential component in modern industries and further research will only fortify their role in it. While the use of robots and employing more robots will increase efficiency and will bring about consistency in the jobs, it will also create more jobs since a lot of industries will be looking out for skilled people and engineers who can integrate robotics for them. And if you are an aspiring student who wants to make a career in robotics, start developing your skill today!