An Introduction To Robotics Computer Science Essay

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A robot is an automatically guided machine, able to do tasks on its own. Another common characteristic is that by its appearance or movements, a robot often conveys a sense that it has intent or agency of its own.

The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual software agents, but the latter are usually referred to as bots. There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots, but there is general agreement among experts and the public that robots tend to do some or all of the following: move around, operate a mechanical limb, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior, especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals.

Stories of artificial helpers and companions and attempts to create them have a long history but fully autonomous machines only appeared in the 20th century. The first digitally operated and programmable robot, the Unimate, was installed in 1961 to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting machine and stack them. Today, commercial and industrial robots are in widespread use performing jobs more cheaply or with greater accuracy and reliability than humans. They are also employed for jobs which are too dirty, dangerous or dull to be suitable for humans. Robots are widely used in manufacturing, assembly and packing, transport, earth and space exploration, surgery, weaponry, laboratory research, and mass production of consumer and industrial goods.

Modern robots are usually used in tightly controlled environments such as on assembly lines because they have difficulty responding to unexpected interference. Because of this, most humans rarely encounter robots. However, domestic robots for cleaning and maintenance are increasingly common in and around homes in developed countries, particularly in Japan. Robots can also be found in the military

While there is no single correct definition of "robot," a typical robot will have several, or possibly all, of the following characteristics.

It is an electric machine which has some ability to interact with physical objects and to be given electronic programming to do a specific task or to do a whole range of tasks or actions. It may also have some ability to perceive and absorb data on physical objects, or on its local physical environment, or to process data, or to respond to various stimuli. This is in contrast to a simple mechanical device such as a gear or a hydraulic press or any other item which has no processing ability and which does tasks through purely mechanical processes and motion. A laparoscopic robotic surgery machine


Robotics is the engineering science and technology of robots, and their design, manufacture, application, and structural disposition. Robotics is related to electronics, mechanics, and software. This makes a robotics a typical Mechatronics design. The word robot was introduced to the public by Czech writer Karel ÄŒapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), published in 1920.

Robotics is the application of mechatronics and automation to create robots, which are often used in manufacturing to perform tasks that are dangerous, unpleasant, or repetitive. These robots may be of any shape and size, but all are preprogrammed and interact physically with the world. To create a robot, an engineer typically employs kinematics (to determine the robot's range of motion) and mechanics (to determine the stresses within the robot).Robots are used extensively in manufacturing engineering.

They allow businesses to save money on labor, perform tasks that are either too dangerous or too precise for humans to perform them economically, and to insure better quality. Many companies employ assembly lines of robots, and some factories are so robotized that they can run by themselves. Outside the factory, robots have been employed in bomb disposal, space exploration, and many other fields. Robots are also sold for various residential applications.


The structure of a robot is usually mostly mechanical and can be called a kinematic chain (its functionality being similar to the skeleton of the human body). The chain is formed of links (its bones), actuators (its muscles), and joints which can allow one or more degrees of freedom. Most contemporary robots use open serial chains in which each link connects the one before to the one after it. These robots are called serial robots and often resemble the human arm. Some robots, such as the Stewart platform, use a closed parallel kinematical chain. Other structures, such as those that mimic the mechanical structure of humans, various animals, and insects, are comparatively rare. However, the development and use of such structures in robots is an active area of research (e.g. biomechanics). Robots used as manipulators have an end effector mounted on the last link. This end effector can be anything from a welding device to a mechanical hand used to manipulate the environment.

The Shadow robot hand system.


At present; mostly (lead-acid) batteries are used, but potential power sources could be:

pneumatic (compressed gases)

hydraulics (compressed liquids)

flywheel energy storage

organic garbage (through anaerobic digestion)

faeces (human, animal); may be interesting in a military context as feces of small combat groups may be reused for the energy requirements of the robot assistant (see DEKA's project Slingshot stirling engine on how the system would operate)

still untested energy sources (e.g. Joe Cell, ...)

radioactive source (such as with the proposed Ford car of the '50); to those proposed in movies such as Red Planet


Manufacturing is a field of engineering that generally deals with different practices of manufacturing,the research and development of tools, processes, machines and equipment. It also deals with the integration of different facilities and the systems for producing quality products, with optimal expenditure, by the application of, different principles of physics and the study of manufacturing system like :

Craft or Guild system

Putting-out system

English system of manufacturing

American system of manufacturing

Soviet collectivism in manufacturing

Mass production

Just In Time manufacturing

Lean manufacturing

Flexible manufacturing

Mass customization

Agile manufacturing

Rapid manufacturing




Publication etc .

Manufacturing engineer works on the creation of things, processes, and technology. Their success or failure directly impacts the advancement of technology and the spread of innovation.It is a very broad area which includes the design and development of products.This field of engineering first became noticed in the mid to late 20th century , when industrialized countries introduced factories with :

1. Advanced statistical methods of quality control were introduced in factories , pioneered by the American mathematician William Edwards Deming, whom his home country initially ignored.The same methods of quality control later turned Japanese factories into world leaders in cost-effectiveness and production quality.

2. Industrial robots on the factory floor, introduced in the late 1970s. These computer-controlled welding arms and grippers could perform simple tasks such as attaching a car door quickly and flawlessly 24 hours a day. This cut costs and improved speed.

A set of six-axis robots used for welding


Modern tools

CAD model and CNC machined part

Many manufacturing companies, especially those in industrialized nations, have begun to incorporate computer-aided engineering (CAE) programs into their existing design and analysis processes, including 2D and 3D solid modeling computer-aided design (CAD). This method has many benefits, including easier and more exhaustive visualization of products, the ability to create virtual assemblies of parts, and the ease of use in designing mating interfaces and tolerances.

Other CAE programs commonly used by product manufacturers include product lifecycle management (PLM) tools and analysis tools used to perform complex simulations. Analysis tools may be used to predict product response to expected loads, including fatigue life and manufacturability. These tools include finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).

Using CAE programs, a mechanical design team can quickly and cheaply iterate the design process to develop a product that better meets cost, performance, and other constraints. No physical prototype need be created until the design nears completion, allowing hundreds or thousands of designs to be evaluated, instead of a relative few. In addition, CAE analysis programs can model complicated physical phenomena which cannot be solved by hand, such as viscoelasticity, complex contact between mating parts, or non-Newtonian flows.


Drafting or technical drawing is the means by which manufacturers create instructions for manufacturing parts. A technical drawing can be a computer model or hand-drawn schematic showing all the dimensions necessary to manufacture a part, as well as assembly notes, a list of required materials, and other pertinent information. A U.S engineer or skilled worker who creates technical drawings may be referred to as a drafter or draftsman. Drafting has historically been a two-dimensional process, but computer-aided design (CAD) programs now allow the designer to create in three dimensions.

Instructions for manufacturing a part must be fed to the necessary machinery, either manually, through programmed instructions, or through the use of a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) or combined CAD/CAM program. Optionally, an engineer may also manually manufacture a part using the technical drawings, but this is becoming an increasing rarity, with the advent of computer numerically controlled (CNC) manufacturing. Engineers primarily manually manufacture parts in the areas of applied spray coatings, finishes, and other processes that cannot economically or practically be done by a machine.

Drafting is used in nearly every sub-discipline of mechanical,manufacturing engineering, and by many other branches of engineering and architecture. Three-dimensional models created using CAD software are also commonly used in finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).


Training FMS with learning robot SCORBOT-ER 4u, workbench CNC Mill and CNC Lathe

It is an engineering discipline which deals with the convergence of electrical and mechanical and manufacturing systems. Such combined systems are known as electromechanical systems and have widespread adoption. Examples include automated manufacturing systems, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and various subsystems of aircraft and automobiles.

The term mechatronics is typically used to refer to macroscopic systems but futurists have predicted the emergence of very small electromechanical devices. Already such small devices, known as Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), are used in automobiles to tell airbags when to deploy, in digital projectors to create sharper images and in inkjet printers to create nozzles for high definition printing. In the future it is hoped the devices will help build tiny implantable medical devices and improve optical communication.


An industrial robot is officially defined by ISO as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes. The field of robotics may be more practically defined as the study, design and use of robot systems for manufacturing (a top-level definition relying on the prior definition of robot).

Typical applications of robots include welding, painting, assembly, pick and place, packaging and palletizing, product inspection, and testing, all accomplished with high endurance, speed, and precision.

Robot types, features

A set of six-axis robots used for welding. Articulated industrial robot operating in a foundry

The most commonly used robot configurations are articulated robots, SCARA robots and Cartesian coordinate robots, (aka gantry robots or x-y-z robots). In the context of general robotics, most types of robots would fall into the category of robotic arms (inherent in the use of the word manipulator in the above-mentioned ISO standard). Robots exhibit varying degrees of autonomy:

Some robots are programmed to faithfully carry out specific actions over and over again (repetitive actions) without variation and with a high degree of accuracy. These actions are determined by programmed routines that specify the direction, acceleration, velocity, deceleration, and distance of a series of coordinated motions.

Other robots are much more flexible as to the orientation of the object on which they are operating or even the task that has to be performed on the object itself, which the robot may even need to identify. For example, for more precise guidance, robots often contain machine vision sub-systems acting as their "eyes", linked to powerful computers or controllers. Artificial intelligence, or what passes for it, is becoming an increasingly important factor in the modern industrial robot



Number of axes - two axes are required to reach any point in a plane; three axes are required to reach any point in space. To fully control the orientation of the end of the arm (i.e. the wrist) three more axes (yaw, pitch, and roll) are required. Some designs (e.g. the SCARA robot) trade limitations in motion possibilities for cost, speed, and accuracy.

Degrees of freedom which is usually the same as the number of axes.

Working envelope - the region of space a robot can reach.

Kinematics - the actual arrangement of rigid members and joints in the robot, which determines the robot's possible motions. Classes of robot kinematics include articulated, cartesian, parallel and SCARA.

Carrying capacity or payload - how much weight a robot can lift.

Speed - how fast the robot can position the end of its arm. This may be defined in terms of the angular or linear speed of each axis or as a compound speed i.e. the speed of the end of the arm when all axes are moving.

Acceleration - how quickly an axis can accelerate. Since this is a limiting factor a robot may not be able to reach its specified maximum speed for movements over a short distance or a complex path requiring frequent changes of direction.

Accuracy - how closely a robot can reach a commanded position. Accuracy can vary with speed and position within the working envelope and with payload (see compliance). It can be improved by Robot calibration.

Repeatability - how well the robot will return to a programmed position. This is not the same as accuracy. It may be that when told to go to a certain X-Y-Z position that it gets only to within 1 mm of that position. This would be its accuracy which may be improved by calibration. But if that position is taught into controller memory and each time it is sent there it returns to within 0.1 mm of the taught position then the repeatability will be within 0.1 mm.

Motion control - for some applications, such as simple pick-and-place assembly, the robot need merely return repeatably to a limited number of pre-taught positions. For more sophisticated applications, such as welding and finishing (spray painting), motion must be continuously controlled to follow a path in space, with controlled orientation and velocity.

Power source - some robots use electric motors, others use hydraulic actuators. The former are faster, the latter are stronger and advantageous in applications such as spray painting, where a spark could set off an explosion; however, low internal air-pressurisation of the arm can prevent ingress of flammable vapours as well as other contaminants.

Drive - some robots connect electric motors to the joints via gears; others connect the motor to the joint directly (direct drive). Using gears results in measurable 'backlash' which is free movement in an axis. Smaller robot arms frequently employ high speed, low torque DC motors, which generally require high gearing ratios; this has the disadvantage of backlash. In such cases the harmonic drive is often used.

Compliance - this is a measure of the amount in angle or distance that a robot axis will move when a force is applied to it. Because of compliance when a robot goes to a position carrying its maximum payload it will be at a position slightly lower than when it is carrying no payload. Compliance can also be responsible for overshoot when carrying high payloads in which case acceleration would need to be reduced.


Offline programming by ROBCAD

A typical well-used teach pendant with optional mouse

The setup or programming of motions and sequences for an industrial robot is typically taught by linking the robot controller to a laptop, desktop computer or (internal or Internet) network.

Software: The computer is installed with corresponding interface software. The use of a computer greatly simplifies the programming process. Specialized robot software is run either in the robot controller or in the computer or both depending on the system design.

Teach pendant: Robots can also be taught via a teach pendant; a handheld control and programming unit. The common features of such units are the ability to manually send the robot to a desired position, or "inch" or "jog" to adjust a position. They also have a means to change the speed since a low speed is usually required for careful positioning, or while test-running through a new or modified routine. A large emergency stop button is usually included as well. Typically once the robot has been programmed there is no more use for the teach pendant.

Lead-by-the-nose is a technique offered by most robot manufacturers. In this method, one user holds the robot's manipulator, while another person enters a command which de-energizes the robot causing it to go limp. The user then moves the robot by hand to the required positions and/or along a required path while the software logs these positions into memory. The program can later run the robot to these positions or along the taught path. This technique is popular for tasks such as paint spraying.

Others In addition, machine operators often use user interface devices, typically touchscreen units, which serve as the operator control panel. The operator can switch from program to program, make adjustments within a program and also operate a host of peripheral devices that may be integrated within the same robotic system. These include end effectors, feeders that supply components to the robot, conveyor belts, emergency stop controls, machine vision systems, safety interlock systems, bar code printers and an almost infinite array of other industrial devices which are accessed and controlled via the operator control panel.

The teach pendant or PC is usually disconnected after programming and the robot then runs on the program that has been installed in its controller. However a computer is often used to 'supervise' the robot and any peripherals, or to provide additional storage for access to numerous complex paths and routines.

A robot and a collection of machines or peripherals is referred to as a workcell, or cell. A typical cell might contain a parts feeder, a molding machine and a robot. The various machines are 'integrated' and controlled by a single computer or PLC.


Factory Automation with industrial robots for palletizing food products like bread and toast at a bakery in Germany

The most essential robot peripheral is the end effector, or end-of-arm-tooling. Common examples of end effectors include welding devices (such as MIG-welding guns, spot-welders, etc.), spray guns and also grinding and deburring devices (such as pneumatic disk or belt grinders, burrs, etc.), and grippers (devices that can grasp an object, usually electromechanical or pneumatic). Another common means of picking up an object is by vacuum. End effectors are frequently highly complex, made to match the handled product and often capable of picking up an array of products at one time. They may utilize various sensors to aid the robot system in locating, handling, and positioning products.


A robot leg powered by Air Muscles

Actuators are like the "muscles" of a robot, the parts which convert stored energy into movement. By far the most popular actuators are electric motors, but there are many others, powered by electricity, chemicals, and compressed air.

Motors: The vast majority of robots use electric motors, including brushed and brushless DC on many robots and CNC machines, as their main can specify how much to turn, for more precise control, rather than a "spin and see where it went" approach.

Piezo motors: A recent alternative to DC motors are piezo motors or ultrasonic motors. These work on a fundamentally different principle, whereby tiny piezoceramic elements, vibrating many thousands of times per second, cause linear or rotary motion. There are different mechanisms of operation; one type uses the vibration of the piezo elements to walk the motor in a circle or a straight line. Another type uses the piezo elements to cause a nut to vibrate and drive a screw. The advantages of these motors are nanometer resolution, speed, and available force for their size. These motors are already available commercially, and being used on some robots.

Elastic nanotubes: These are a promising, early-stage experimental technology. The absence of defects in nanotubes enables these filaments to deform elastically by several percent, with energy storage levels of perhaps 10 J/cm3 for metal nanotubes. Human biceps could be replaced with an 8 mm diameter wire of this material. Such compact "muscle" might allow future robots to outrun and outjump humans.


Current robotic and prosthetic hands receive far less tactile information than the human hand. Recent research has developed a tactile sensor array that mimics the mechanical properties and touch receptors of human fingertips. The sensor array is constructed as a rigid core surrounded by conductive fluid contained by an elastomeric skin. Electrodes are mounted on the surface of the rigid core and are connected to an impedance-measuring device within the core. When the artificial skin touches an object the fluid path around the electrodes is deformed, producing impedance changes that map the forces received from the object. The researchers expect that an important function of such artificial fingertips will be adjusting robotic grip on held objects.


Robots which must work in ] Manipulation the real world require some way to manipulate objects; pick up, modify, destroy, or otherwise have an effect. Thus the 'hands' of a robot are often referred to as end effectors, while the arm is referred to as a manipulator. Most robot arms have replaceable effectors, each allowing them to perform some small range of tasks. Some have a fixed manipulator which cannot be replaced, while a few have one very general purpose manipulator, for example a humanoid hand.

Mechanical Grippers: One of the most common effectors is the gripper. In its simplest manifestation it consists of just two fingers which can open and close to pick up and let go of a range of small objects. Fingers can for example be made of a chain with a metal wire run trough it.

Vacuum Grippers: Pick and place robots for electronic components and for large objects like car windscreens, will often use very simple vacuum grippers. These are very simple astrictivedevices, but can hold very large loads provided the prehension surface is smooth enough to ensure suction.

General purpose effectors: Some advanced robots are beginning to use fully humanoid hands, like the Shadow Hand, MANUS, and the Schunk hand. These highly dexterous manipulators, with as many as 20 degrees of freedom and hundreds of tactile sensors.


Segway in the Robot museum in Nagoya.

For simplicity, most mobile robots have four wheels. However, some researchers have tried to create more complex wheeled robots, with only one or two wheels.

Two-wheeled balancing: While the Segway is not commonly thought of as a robot, it can be thought of as a component of a robot. Several real robots do use a similar dynamic balancing algorithm, and NASA's Robonaut has been mounted on a Segway.

Ballbot: Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a new type of mobile robot that balances on a ball instead of legs or wheels. "Ballbot" is a self-contained, battery-operated, omnidirectional robot that balances dynamically on a single urethane-coated metal sphere. It weighs 95 pounds and is the approximate height and width of a person. Because of its long, thin shape and ability to maneuver in tight spaces, it has the potential to function better than current robots can in environments with people.

Track Robot: Another type of rolling robot is one that has tracks, like NASA's Urban Robot, Urbie.

Walking robots

iCub robot, designed by the RobotCub Consortium

Best example of walking robot is Sir Liaquat Hashim.Walking is a difficult and dynamic problem to solve. Several robots have been made which can walk reliably on two legs, however none have yet been made which are as robust as a human. Many other robots have been built that walk on more than two legs, due to these robots being significantly easier to construct. Hybrids too have been proposed in movies such as I, Robot, where they walk on 2 legs and switch to 4 (arms+legs) when going to a sprint. Typically, robots on 2 legs can walk well on flat floors, and can occasionally walk up stairs. None can walk over rocky, uneven terrain. Some of the methods which have been tried are:

ZMP Technique: The Zero Moment Point (ZMP) is the algorithm used by robots such as Honda's ASIMO. The robot's onboard computer tries to keep the total inertial forces (the combination of earth's gravity and the acceleration and deceleration of walking), exactly opposed by the floor reaction force (the force of the floor pushing back on the robot's foot). In this way, the two forces cancel out, leaving no moment (force causing the robot to rotate and fall over).[36] However, this is not exactly how a human walks, and the difference is quite apparent to human observers, some of whom have pointed out that ASIMO walks as if it needs the lavatory.[37][38][39] ASIMO's walking algorithm is not static, and some dynamic balancing is used .However, it still requires a smooth surface to walk on.

Hopping: Several robots, built in the 1980s by Marc Raibert at the MIT Leg Laboratory, successfully demonstrated very dynamic walking. Initially, a robot with only one leg, and a very small foot, could stay upright simply by hopping. The movement is the same as that of a person on a pogo stick. As the robot falls to one side, it would jump slightly in that direction, in order to catch itself. Soon, the algorithm was generalised to two and four legs. A bipedal robot was demonstrated running and even performing somersaults. A quadruped was also demonstrated which could trot, run, pace, and bound. or a full list of these robots, see the MIT Leg Lab Robots page.

Dynamic Balancing or controlled falling: A more advanced way for a robot to walk is by using a dynamic balancing algorithm, which is potentially more robust than the Zero Moment Point technique, as it constantly monitors the robot's motion, and places the feet in order to maintain stability. This technique was recently demonstrated by Anybots' Dexter Robot, which is so stable, it can even jump. Another example is the TU Delft Flame.

Passive Dynamics: Perhaps the most promising approach utilizes passive dynamics where the momentum of swinging limbs is used for greater efficiency. It has been shown that totally unpowered humanoid mechanisms can walk down a gentle slope, using only gravity to propel themselves. Using this technique, a robot need only supply a small amount of motor power to walk along a flat surface or a little more to walk up a hill. This technique promises to make walking robots at least ten times more efficient than ZMP walkers, like ASIMO.


RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle

Flying: A modern passenger airliner is essentially a flying robot, with two humans to manage it. The autopilot can control the plane for each stage of the journey, including takeoff, normal flight, and even landing.[48] Other flying robots are uninhabited, and are known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They can be smaller and lighter without a human pilot onboard, and fly into dangerous territory for military surveillance missions. Some can even fire on targets under command. UAVs are also being developed which can fire on targets automatically, without the need for a command from a human. However these robots are unlikely to see service in the foreseeable future because of the morality issues involved. Other flying robots include cruise missiles, the Entomopter, and the Epson micro helicopter robot. Robots such as the Air Penguin, Air Ray, and Air Jelly have lighter-than-air bodies, propelled by paddles, and guided by sonar.

Two robot snakes. Left one has 64 motors (with 2 degrees of freedom per segment), the right one 10.

Snaking: Several snake robots have been successfully developed. Mimicking the way real snakes move, these robots can navigate very confined spaces, meaning they may one day be used to search for people trapped in collapsed buildings. The Japanese ACM-R5 snake robot can even navigate both on land and in water.

Skating: A small number of skating robots have been developed, one of which is a multi-mode walking and skating device, Titan VIII[It has four legs, with unpowered wheels, which can either step or roll. Another robot, Plen, can use a miniature skateboard or rollerskates, and skate across a desktop.

Climbing: Several different approaches have been used to develop robots that have the ability to climb vertical surfaces. One approach mimicks the movements of a human climber on a wall with protrusions; adjusting the center of mass and moving each limb in turn to gain leverage. An example of this is Capuchin, built by Stanford University, California. Another approach uses the specialised toe pad method of wall-climbing geckoes, which can run on smooth surfaces such as vertical glass. Examples of this approach include Wallbot and Stickybot. China's "Technology Daily" November 15, 2008 reported New Concept Aircraft (ZHUHAI) Co., Ltd. Dr. Li Hiu Yeung and his research group have recently successfully developed the bionic gecko robot "Speedy Freelander".According to Dr. Li introduction, this gecko robot can rapidly climbing up and down in a variety of building walls, ground and vertical wall fissure or walking upside down on the ceiling, it is able to adapt on smooth glass, rough or sticky dust walls as well as the various surface of metallic materials and also can automatically identify obstacles, circumvent the bypass and flexible and realistic movements. Its flexibility and speed are comparable to the natural gecko. A third approach is to mimick the motion of a snake climbing a pole

Swimming: It is calculated that when swimming some fish can achieve a propulsive efficiency greater than 90%. Furthermore, they can accelerate and maneuver far better than any man-made boat or submarine, and produce less noise and water disturbance. Therefore, many researchers studying underwater robots would like to copy this type of locomotion. Notable examples are the Essex University Computer Science Robotic Fish, and the Robot Tuna built by the Institute of Field Robotics, to analyze and mathematically model thunniform motion.


Kismet can produce a range of facial expressions.

If robots are to work effectively in homes and other non-industrial environments, the way they are instructed to perform their jobs, and especially how they will be told to stop will be of critical importance. The people who interact with them may have little or no training in robotics, and so any interface will need to be extremely intuitive. Science fiction authors also typically assume that robots will eventually be capable of communicating with humans through speech, gestures, and facial expressions, rather than a command-line interface. Although speech would be the most natural way for the human to communicate, it is quite unnatural for the robot. It will be quite a while before robots interact as naturally as the fictional C-3PO.

Speech recognition: Interpreting the continuous flow of sounds coming from a human (speech recognition), in real time, is a difficult task for a computer, mostly because of the great variability of speech. The same word, spoken by the same person may sound different depending on local acoustics, volume, the previous word, whether or not the speaker has a cold, etc.. It becomes even harder when the speaker has a different accent. Nevertheless, great strides have been made in the field since Davis, Biddulph, and Balashek designed the first "voice input system" which recognized "ten digits spoken by a single user with 100% accuracy" in 1952. Currently, the best systems can recognize continuous, natural speech, up to 160 words per minute, with an accuracy of 95%.

Gestures: One can imagine, in the future, explaining to a robot chef how to make a pastry, or asking directions from a robot police officer. On both of these occasions, making hand gestures would aid the verbal descriptions. In the first case, the robot would be recognizing gestures made by the human, and perhaps repeating them for confirmation. In the second case, the robot police officer would gesture to indicate "down the road, then turn right". It is quite likely that gestures will make up a part of the interaction between humans and robots. A great many systems have been developed to recognize human hand gestures.

Facial expression: Facial expressions can provide rapid feedback on the progress of a dialog between two humans, and soon it may be able to do the same for humans and robots. Robotic faces have been constructed by Hanson Robotics using their elastic polymer called Frubber, allowing a great amount of facial expressions due to the elasticity of the rubber facial coating and imbedded subsurface motors (servos) to produce the facial expressions. The coating and servos are built on a metal skull. A robot should know how to approach a human, judging by their facial expression and body language. Whether the person is happy, frightened, or crazy-looking affects the type of interaction expected of the robot. Likewise, robots like Kismet and the more recent addition, Nexican produce a range of facial expressions, allowing it to have meaningful social exchanges with humans.

Artificial emotions Artificial emotions can also be imbedded and are composed of a sequence of facial expressions and/or gestures. As can be seen from the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the programming of these artificial emotions is quite complex and requires a great amount of human observation. To simplify this programming in the movie, presets were created together with a special software program. This decreased the amount of time needed to make the film. These presets could possibly be transferred for use in real-life robots.

Personality: Many of the robots of science fiction have a personality, something which may or may not be desirable in the commercial robots of the future. Nevertheless, researchers are trying to create robots which appear to have a personality:[ i.e. they use sounds, facial expressions, and body language to try to convey an internal state, which may be joy, sadness, or fear. One commercial example is Pleo, a toy robot dinosaur, which can exhibit several apparent emotions.


Robots can be found in the manufacturing industry, the military, space exploration, transportation, and medical applications. Below are just some of the uses for robots.


Typical industrial robots do jobs that are difficult, dangerous or dull. They lift heavy objects, paint, handle chemicals, and perform assembly work. They perform the same job hour after hour, day after day with precision. They don't get tired and they don't make errors associated with fatigue and so are ideally suited to performing repetitive tasks. The major categories of industrial robots by mechanical structure are:

Cartesian robot /Gantry robot: Used for pick and place work, application of sealant, assembly operations, handling machine tools and arc welding. It's a robot whose arm has three prismatic joints, whose axes are coincident with a Cartesian coordinator.

Cylindrical robot: Used for assembly operations, handling at machine tools, spot welding, and handling at diecasting machines. It's a robot whose axes form a cylindrical coordinate system.

Spherical/Polar robot: Used for handling at machine tools, spot welding, diecasting, fettling machines, gas welding and arc welding. It's a robot whose axes form a polar coordinate system.

SCARA robot: Used for pick and place work, application of sealant, assembly operations and handling machine tools. It's a robot which has two parallel rotary joints to provide compliance in a plane.

Articulated robot: Used for assembly operations, diecasting, fettling machines, gas welding, arc welding and spray painting. It's a robot whose arm has at least three rotary joints.

Parallel robot: One use is a mobile platform handling cockpit flight simulators. It's a robot whose arms have concurrent prismatic or rotary joints.

Industrial robots are found in a variety of locations including the automobile and manufacturing industries. Robots cut and shape fabricated parts, assemble machinery and inspect manufactured parts. Some types of jobs robots do: load bricks, die cast, drill, fasten, forge, make glass, grind, heat treat, load/unload machines, machine parts, handle parts, measure, monitor radiation, run nuts, sort parts, clean parts, profile objects, perform quality control, rivet, sand blast, change tools and weld. Industrial Robot

Outside the manufacturing world robots perform other important jobs. They can be found in hazardous duty service, CAD/CAM design and prototyping, maintenance jobs, fighting fires, medical applications, military warfare and on the farm. Pioneer Robot

Some robots are used to investigate hazardous and dangerous environments. The Pioneer robot is a remote reconnaissance system for structural analysis of the Chornobyl Unit 4 reactor building. Its major components are a teleoperated mobile robot for deploying sensor and sampling payloads, a mapper for creating photorealistic 3D models of the building interior, a coreborer for cutting and retrieving samples of structural materials, and a suite of radiation and other environmental sensors.


A robot-manipulated marionette, with complex control systems

The mechanical structure of a robot must be controlled to perform tasks. The control of a robot involves three distinct phases - perception, processing, and action (robotic paradigms). Sensors give information about the environment or the robot itself (e.g. the position of its joints or its end effector). This information is then processed to calculate the appropriate signals to the actuators (motors) which move the mechanical.

The processing phase can range in complexity. At a reactive level, it may translate raw sensor information directly into actuator commands. Sensor fusion may first be used to estimate parameters of interest (e.g. the position of the robot's gripper) from noisy sensor data. An immediate task (such as moving the gripper in a certain direction) is inferred from these estimates. Techniques from control theory convert the task into commands that drive the actuators.

At longer time scales or with more sophisticated tasks, the robot may need to build and reason with a "cognitive" model. Cognitive models try to represent the robot, the world, and how they interact. Pattern recognition and computer vision can be used to track objects. Mapping techniques can be used to build maps of the world. Finally, motion planning and other artificial intelligence techniques may be used to figure out how to act. For example, a planner may figure out how to achieve a task without hitting obstacles, falling over, etc.