Introduction: Is robotics computer science or engineering?
The word robotics was derived from the word robot, which was introduced to the public by Czech writer Karel Čapek in his play , which was published in 1920. R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)
Hardware and software are two components of robotics. Engineering is used to design the physical aspects of the robot and computer science is used to design software that gives intelligence to the machine to do its task. This makes robotics a multidisciplinary branch of engineering and computer science. Robotics is used to automate tasks and reduce human intervention.
These fundamental components form the basis of what makes up a robot. There are three basic components that make up a typical robot –
- Mechanical Components
- Electrical Components
- Software Components.
A slight deeper dive would show us that robotics need a movable physical structure, a motor of some sort, a sensor system, a power supply, and software programming that provides intelligence that controls all of these components.
Mechanical Components – Robotic Hardware
Robots are all constructed in some way, be it a frame, form, or shape, that is designed specifically to accomplish a particular task. The mechanical engineering aspect is mostly for designing the shape of the robot for its intended purpose. Robots have electrical components that power and control the machinery. These components help power the robot and let it do its intended task.
Electrical Components – Robotic Electronics
The robotic machinery is powered and controlled by electrical components in the robot. The electric current travels through wires to engage a system of sensors, motors and originates from a power source or battery, and works with the help of basic electrical circuit. Robots are controlled electrically through motors, rather than their mechanical components, and electrical signals are used for different types of sensing, such as the sense of heat, sound, position, or the condition of the robot’s energy supply, as well as their operation (Robots require some degree of electrical energy to activate and move their motors and sensors).
Software Components – Robotic Software
The majority of robots are programmed with some form of software component. It is the program that a robot uses to make the decision as to how or when to take action. A robot’s performance is directly correlated to the quality of its software. No matter how great the robot’s mechanical and electrical construction, if it’s software is poorly constructed it will not perform at its best.
There are three different types of robotic programs:
These robots work when a human operator physically operates the mechanical, electronic, or software areas of the robot.
The programming of an autonomous robot will set up a set of pre-programmed commands, based on decision trees, that will only be implemented when the robot receives a signal from a control source, such as a human with a remote control.
Also Read: Inside Arrival’s Futuristic Factory.
Artificial Intelligence based control.
It is possible for robots using artificial intelligence to interact with their environment on their own without a control source, and can compute their reactions to objects and problems they encounter using their pre-conditioned software. As these sorts of robots are put through their paces, they typically learn continuously over the course of time.