Robotics is the intersection of science, engineering and technology that produces machines, called robots, that substitute for (or replicate) human actions. Robots were originally built to handle monotonous tasks (like building cars on an assembly line) but have since expanded well beyond their initial uses to perform tasks like fighting fires, cleaning homes, and assisting with incredibly intricate surgeries. Each robot has a differing level of autonomy, ranging from human-controlled bots that carry out tasks that a human has full control over to fully autonomous bots that perform tasks without any external influences. robots may be equipped with the equivalent of human senses such as vision, touch, and the ability to sense temperature. Some are even capable of simple decision making, and current robotics research is geared toward devising robots with a degree of self-sufficiency that will permit mobility and decision-making in an unstructured environment. Today’s industrial robots do not resemble human beings; a robot in human form is called an android.
One of the first instances of a mechanical device built to regularly carry out a particular physical task occurred around 3000 B.C.: Egyptian water clocks used human figurines to strike the hour bells. In 400 B.C., Archytus of Taremtum, inventor of the pulley and the screw, also invented a wooden pigeon that could fly. Hydraulically operated statues that could speak, gesture, and prophecy were commonly constructed in Hellenic Egypt during the second century B.C.
In the first century A.D., Petronius Arbiter made a doll that could move like a human being. Giovanni Torriani created a wooden robot that could fetch the emperor’s daily bread from the store in 1557. Robotic inventions reached a relative peak (before the 20th century) in the 1700s; countless in genius, yet impractical, automata (i.e., robots) were created during this time. The 19th century was also filled with new robotic creations, such as a talking doll by Edison and a steam-powered robot by Canadians. Although these inventions throughout history may have planted the first seeds of inspiration for the modern robot, the scientific progress made in the 20th century in the field of robotics surpass previous advancements thousandfold. The earliest robots as we know them were created in the early 1950s by George C. Devol, an inventor from Louisville, Kentucky. He invented and patented a reprogrammable manipulator called “Unimate,” from “Universal Automation.” For the next decade, he attempted to sell his product in the industry, but failed. In the late 1960s, businessman/engineer Joseph Engleberger acquired Devol’s robot patent and was able to modify it into an industrial robot and form a company called Unimation to produce and market the robots. For his efforts and successes, Engleberger is known in the industry as “the Father of Robotics.”
Academia also made much progress in the creation new robots. In 1958 at the Stanford Research Institute, Charles Rosen led a research team in developing a robot called “Shakey.” Shakey was far more advanced than the original Unimate, which was designed for specialized, industrial applications. Shakey could wheel around the room, observe the scene with his television “eyes,” move across unfamiliar surroundings, and to a certain degree, respond to his environment. He was given his name because of his wobbly and clattering movements.
- Articulated Robots: An articulated robot is the type of robot that comes to mind when most people think about robots. Much like CNC mills, articulated robots are classified by the number of points of rotation or axes they have. The most common is the 6-axis articulated robot. There are also 4- and 7-axis units on the market.
- SCARA Robots: A Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm (SCARA) is a good — and cost-effective — choice for performing operations between two parallel planes (e.g., transferring parts from a tray to a conveyor). SCARA robots excel at vertical assembly tasks such as inserting pins without binding due to their vertical rigidity.
- Delta Robots: Delta’s robots, also referred to as “spider robots,” use three base-mounted motors to actuate control arms that position the wrist. Basic delta robots are 3-axis units but 4- and 6-axis models are also available.
- Cartesian Robots: Cartesian robots typically consist of three or more linear actuators assembled to fit a particular application. Positioned above a workspace, cartesian robots can be elevated to maximize floor space and accommodate a wide range of workpiece sizes.
- Helping fight forest fires
- Working alongside humans in manufacturing plants (known as co-bots)
- Robots that offer companionship to elderly individuals
- Surgical assistants
- Last-mile package and food order delivery
- Autonomous household robots that carry out tasks like vacuuming and mowing the grass
- Assisting with finding items and carrying them throughout warehouses
- Used during search-and-rescue missions after natural disasters
- Landmine detectors in war zones
Robots are useful in many ways. For instance, it boosts economy because businesses need to be efficient to keep up with the industry competition. Therefore, having robots helps business owners to be competitive, because robots can do jobs better and faster than humans can, e.g., robot can build, assemble a car.