Types of Robots
A robot is an electronically mechanized device, which by the way that it moves, gives off the impression of being an agent of its own. It is generally accepted, that in order to be classified as a robot, a mechanical device should be able to display a certain degree of intelligent behavior. In addition, such devices should be capable of independent movement, together with the ability to manipulate at least a single arm or limb.
For the robot enthusiast, there has never been a more abundant choice of kits than there is today. With robot building becoming increasingly popular, manufacturers and suppliers have ensured there is something for everyone, no matter what your level of expertise. Robot kits are special construction kits that allow hobbyists to build their own robots. The vast magnitude of kits available in today’s market can be viewed and purchased via any one of the thousands of online suppliers.
Most common kits consist mainly of plastic or aluminum components, together with various structural and mechanical elements. The input and movement of the robots are controlled by sensors, servos and a control board. Some of the robot kits can be purchased without the required electronics, providing the hobbyist with the added challenge of assembling an adequate electronic device.
A robotic arm is a manipulation device for a robot that is usually programmed with functions that are similar to, or mimic that of the human arm. The different parts of the robotic arm are connected by joint type structures that allow for the desired movements. The joints in the arms can be considered a kinematics chain while the hand of the robotic arm is called the end effector. As with other parts of the robot, the hand can also be programmed to act much like a human hand, allowing it to replace human hands for various tasks such as welding, etc. The robotic arms can be controlled electronically or manually in order to perform tasks to a high degree of accuracy.
Sumo Robots have gained much popularity during recent years between the ranks of competitive hobbyists. As the name implies, Sumo Robot competitions take the form of sumo wrestling where the aim is for one robot to force the other robot out of a designated area. These robots, which are constructed specifically for Sumo Robot competitions, are called sumobots. This newfound robotic sport presents the hobbyist with engineering challenges, as the robots have to locate each other by means of infrared sensors and then compete to see who is pushed out of the flat arena first. Likewise, the sumobots require sensors to detect where the edge of the arena to which they are restricted.
Nowadays, as more and more hobbyists enter the arena, one will see an ever-increasing array of weapons fitted to the robots. The most common weapon tends to be an angled blade at the front of the robot that is usually tilted at a forty-five degree angle. The blade can be adjusted to different heights or angles depending on the circumstances and in many cases can effectively disable the opponent. From simple Lego robots to expensive sumobot kits, the only limit is one’s imagination.
There are different classes for the sumo robots such as mini, micro, nano, and femto. All of these classes are also further divided into radio controlled and automatic categories. The standard class is for robots that weigh up to three kilograms and would be able to go inside a 20cm by 20cm box. The mini sumo class is for robots that weigh up to 500 grams and would be able to fit inside a 10cm by 10cm box. Micro sums are robots that weigh up to 100 grams and would be able to fit inside a 5cm by 5cm box. The nana sumo class is for small robots that would fit inside a 2.5cm by 2.5cm box and the feta class is for robots that are even smaller and would fit inside a 1cm by 1cm box.
The bi-ped is a type of robot that moves with the use of the two rear limbs. The type of movements that a bi-ped can do is running, walking and hopping. The bi-ped robots are often built to mimic humans or various mammals such as dinosaurs. These types of robots are actually on the increase and are becoming more popular. An impressive bi-ped robot was recently built by Honda, which was able to move on its own.
The wheeled robot is a mobile robot that bases its movement on two wheels that are placed one on each side of the robot and the movement is based on the wheels working independently. The robot is able to change direction by changing the rate of rotation of the wheels, which is why it does not require any steering motion. It is possible to add more wheels to the robot although these will not drive the robot but rather, they will only give the robot more balance.
The wheels of the robot are not connected to each other although it may appear that they are. When the wheels are driven in the same direction and at the same speed, the robot will go in a straight line. The direction of the robot depends very much on the speed and direction of the two driven wheels. The wheels are equipped with sensors and controlled for precise movements.
Robots are designed and built to withstand any environment possible. One way of classifying robots is by the environment that they operate in. Some robots are used in the home to assist with a wide range of tasks whilst some are used in offices and factories and others are built simply to be played with and used in sport.
Stationery robots are in one fixed location and include a robotic arm whilst others are ground robots and are designed to operate on the surface of the earth on wheels, track, or legs to do various different jobs. Some robots are built to conduct jobs under water and these are actually known as autonomous underwater vehicles that are specially designed to operating in water sometimes up to a great depth.
Written by: John