What is a Robot? How does it Work?
Every day, universities and companies seek to innovate more in robotics to perform more versatile tasks in medicine, industry, education, research, etc.
You can also develop your projects at home, thanks to different robotic prototypes that remain sold in the market; even Lego has its educational models to enter this fascinating world.
Science fiction, present in novels, television, or cinema, has left us a complex vision of robotics, where it would take an oriental to build one. However, this technology branch is much simpler than what you see or think, although when you mix robotics with time travel and Skynet, everything can get complicated.
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What is a Robot?
The RAE defines it as a programmable automatic machine capable of performing specific tasks autonomously.
So is a washing machine a robot?
If we consider the definition of the robot: yes, although we commonly give a robot a more “fantastic” air, thinking of Optimus Prime or Wall-E or where robots are human-shaped machines capable of shooting laser beams and that remain revealed to subjugate humans under their power, we can only protect ourselves under the eaves of a Cyberdyne T-800 that -obviously- John Connor or Katherine Brewster reprogrammed. But no, robots are such standard machines that we don’t even realize it.
A Robot mainly made up of 3 Parts:
- Control system
Sensors are the devices that allow a robot to become aware of its surroundings; They are their senses, as for us our sight or touch, for them, they can be pressure sensors, infrared, cameras, ultrasound sensors, etc. These sensors receive physical variables and transform them into electrical signals so that the control system (the robot’s brain) can process them and “make decisions.”
The control system interprets the signals delivered by the sensors. And according to its programming, or in simple words, depending on what it remains designed to do, it does it.
As it Does?
Well, for robots to “make decisions” and react to what the sensors give them, they must have a program. A set of logical instructions designed according to the problem to be solved, and finally execute the action that must remain carried out through its actuators.
The actuators are the mechanisms that allow the robot to communicate with the media or interfere with him as our arms or face; robots can have motors, speakers, screens.
Then the sensors and actuators allow the robot to relate to its surroundings. Communication systems must also remain considered a subgroup of actuators. Since they enable robots to communicate with other devices to send and receive information, load programs, etc.
It all sounds a bit unclear, so let’s look at the washing machine example.
If you want to wash the clothes and spin them, they must enter the program through the selection buttons: to program them for a specific task.
The washing machine begins to fill the drum; How does the washing machine taste when full of water? You probably have a sensor that measures the water level. And when it reaches the desired level, then the “control system” cuts off the water. And begins to move the drum, thanks to its actuator, a small motor that drives the entire system. ; et voilà:
They have just used a robot that will have washed, rinsed. And spun their clothes in a while, saving them a lot of work in the housework.
Building your robot is not complicated either; you need to know a bit of programming logic and, above all, a desire to learn. On the internet, there are N + 1 manuals, projects to review, as well as stores where you can buy your actuators and sensors.