Basics of Robotics.

Last week, we all woke up to a news flashing all across our smartphone screens that said :

“China’s newest news anchor is an Artificial Intelligence powered Robot !

It further read that these robots would not only be able to work ‘tirelessly’ that is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year, but could also simulate the voice, facial movements, and gestures of real-life news broadcasters!

So is our fear that we are going to lose our jobs to robots coming true?

My personal belief is that we as human beings have already survived from Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0 and advances in science and technology have only made our lives simpler and comfortable ; opened up new avenues of employment.

The digital revolution has given us the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of technology, not be trampled under it.

The best way we can predict the future is to be prepared for it by being life long learners, being adaptable and acquiring new skills in diverse areas such as mobile app development, Internet of Things (iOT), Robotics etc.

Lets understand some basics of Robotics and Robots. Robotics as you might have guessed isthe science and study of robots.

What is a robot?

What comes to your mind when you are asked to visualise a robot?

Probably a machine that resembles either a human or an animal, which is capable of carrying out certain tasks like holding things, pressing buttons, cleaning, etc that a human can also do.

How does a robot work?

A robot can be compared with a human being. Just like we humans receive inputs from our sensory organs, process them in our brain, and carry out the desired action; robots too have the same building blocks. The inputs to the robots is via sensors, the processing is done by the Central Processing Unit (CPU) unit, and then the desired output is obtained.

Basics_of_Robot_BeBright_Robotics

Any robot is made up of 3 parts – Sensors (for input), CPU (processor), and Mechanical Actions (for output). The inputs that the robot receives via the sensors can be anything from smell, touch, visual differences etc.

The CPU is the microprocessor or micro-controller that processes this input quantity, searches for the corresponding function to perform from the previously-fed or programmed instruction set in the robot, and then sends the signal on to the output port. Upon reception of this signal, the robot will perform the desired action.

For example, an Obstacle Avoider robot will stop once it comes in contact with any obstacle. Once the robot comes in contact with any object, its input sensor (touch) will be activated. This sensor will send signal to the processing unit, as soon as it turns on. The CPU will look up in its instruction set to find the relevant action to be performed upon the reception of this signal. As the desired function is to stop the robot’s movement, the CPU will send a ‘Stop’ signal to the output module (motor’s circuit). Thus, the robot will stop moving.

Since the invention of the first robot – Unimate in 1954, robots have since come a long way. Self driving cars, robot assisted complex medical surgeries, robotic arms, virtual home assistants have become a reality today.

Robotics and other combinations will make the world pretty fantastic compared with today – Bill Gates.

With the advancement in science and technology, Robots assisting us in almost every area of our lives has become inevitable. Rather than being fearful and speculative, lets embrace this change and learn more on Robotics!

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