Robotics an Emerging Engineering Discipline

Robotics: Blended Engineering for the Robotic Future

Robotics an Emerging Engineering Discipline
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Robotics is a branch of engineering which is a combination of Mechanical, Electronics and Computer science and engineering. Robotics deals with automatic machines having characteristics similar to a human being. Robots can range from very simple type like a robotic arm doing a simple task to very complex humanoid robots resembling human, which can walk, run and do human like functions.

The robots are very useful to us as they can perform human like tasks. The following are the benefits which the innovation of Robots has given to our society.

  1. In places which are hazardous to human beings, the robots can work in place of humans and do the tasks required.
  2. The robots can do the tasks in a shorter time then required by humans.
  3. The robots can do the tasks more accurately as compared to humans.

The modern manufacturing system is turning in to a completely automated system where the robots or the automatic machines are employed to do all the tasks effectively and accurately.  

Robots of all kind have few things in common. They all have the following parts or elements which in a combined manner are considered as a Robotic system.

  1. Mechanical Linkage: All robots will have a mechanical structure which will depend on the task for which the robot is designed. It may range from a few links with few joints to a structure having complex parts or links connected with joints of various degrees of freedom.
  2. Sensors: The Robotic system will mostly be equipped with one or more sensors. Sensor is a element which captures or senses the outside environment information. For example a temperature sensor will measure the outside temperature and a motion sensor will measure the displacement or velocity.
  3. Actuators: All Robotic system will have some kind of actuators to actuate the system.

    The actuators are the elements to provide motion to the mechanical linkages. The example of most common actuator is a motor which gives a rotatory motion. Various types of actuators including electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic etc are extensively used in this field.
  4. Microprocessor: The microprocessor is considered to be a brain of the robot. The robot takes the decisions based on the information coded in the microprocessor. The sensor senses the information and sends it to microprocessor which takes the decision based on the code written on to it.
  5. Power Supply Source: In order to run the actuators, sensors and microprocessor an external electrical power source is required. This power source can be batteries, cells etc which provide electrical voltages in form of AC or DC.

The mechanical engineers are involved in Structure and Linkages part, the electronics part is dealt by electrical and electronics engineers and coding or programming part is taken care by computer science engineers. Thus robotics is the branch where a lot of research and development is going on in present world. It is the future of the today’s world and it is anticipated that the things will change drastically in future as there will be more and more advancement in this field.

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This makes me remember our thesis in college. We wirelessly interfaced a remotle controlled car into a pc and give it some functions just like an ordirnary car. Every time I remember it it makes me think that it is imporssible but it is actually quite easy.