Picture showing robot for the study of robotics.

Overview of robotics

The first concept of Robotics was developed in 3000 B.C. The Egyptian water clock used Human Figurines to hit the hour’s bell. A wooden pigeon that can fly in the air using steam was designed by Archytas in 400 BC. It shows that from ancient times robotics was at its starting phase. But after the 19th century, it going to developing more faster. In the medical industry, in the manufacturing industry, robotic hands for pick and place, and military human beings were using them. Inventions in robots are becoming faster due to the heat of the Industrial revolution.

In the 20th century, robotics was at its peak. It had improved and advanced so far. Industries were becoming more advance by using robotic hands. Robots were used for medical surgeries. Robonaut -2 was launched in the international space station to become the first humanoid robot in space.


What is Robotics?

Robotics is the combination of engineering, science & technology that helps to make robots(machines). In simple words, It is a study of how to make robots and utilize them for specific tasks.

Robotics is a branch of engineering in which robots are developed, designed, constructed to operate, and reduce human efforts. It finds new ways in which robots can be useful to human beings. These techniques are using to develop a machine that can replace humans and repeating human actions.

It is the intersection of four fields using in robotics to develop robots.

  • The structures of the robot are part of mechanical engineering.  Design, kinematics, and structural dynamics give the shape, feasibility, and strength to the robot structure. These parameters decide the aesthetics & ergonomics of the robot. It gives the correct place to every component.
  • Electrical Engineering deals with the sensor, motor, the flow of electricity, and storage. As per the design, every electrical component is fitted to its specific position. It gives motion to the robot.
  • Electronics systems are mainly controlling devices. These devices give control to the motion of the robot. Every action of the robot is controlled by these devices.
  • Without software engineering, the robot is only structure. Computer coding tells the information about the task. It gives the ability to do a specific task. Software development in which machine learning and intelligence, decision-making, basic functional interfaces, and human-machine interface play an important role in the advanced robots.

Comparison of the humanoid robot with our human body

In a robot, the whole structure playing the role of the human body. Electrical types of equipment are playing the role of heart, vanes, kidneys, leaver, etc.  Electronics control systems are playing the role of born marrow. And the last one is computer programming, AI, and machine learning playing the role of the brain. It makes a complete comparison of the robot with the human body.

Now we are aware of robotics. But what is mean by robot? Let’s see in the next point.


What is a robot?

The word Robot was derived from “Czech,” which means forced labor. It is a reprogrammable, multifunction manipulator device using to move materials parts, and tools by using variable programs to carry out the different tasks. A robot is a machine using to replace human efforts.

Robots require special coding. This coding is different from other machines and machine tools. It can be fully automatic, semiautomatic. It can carry the work with precision and speed.

Types of robots.

Robots are available in various sizes and shapes as per application. For every different application, they have a different construction. Below are some types of robots.

Pre-programmed robots (Ex. Robotic hand)

Pre-programmed robots are using for the repeated tasks. The best example of it is an automobile assembly line. In this, the robotic hand is pre-programmed for the applications like welding of various parts, assembly purposes, painting, etc. They are programming in such a way that, they can work more efficiently, with less time, and with accuracy. There are so many industries using pre-programmed robots for various applications. For the hazardous type of applications, these are so much useful.

Humanoid robots

The word Humanoid itself explaining the meaning. It is a robot that looks like a human. It can do activities of human-like walking, swimming, talking, carrying objects, running, and more. They can give expression like humans. The Sophia is the best example of a humanoid robot. She can do all kinds of work that humans do. She has so many advanced features like decision-making (starting phase). It is possible due to Artificial Intelligence.

Autonomous robots

Autonomous robots are advanced robots that do not require human supervision. These robots can do work without any kind of supervision. They are equipped with advanced sensors. With the help of the sensors, these can work without supervision. Roomba vacuum cleaner is the best example of an autonomous robot.

Teleoperated robots

Teleoperated robots (Oceaneering Liberty E-Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)

Teleoperated robots are the best example of human-controlled robots. These robots are operated through the remote by human beings. They are using for the most difficult work where humans can not reach or do it. Such conditions like pipeline leakage underwater with Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), drones to detect the position of enemies or to attack them.

Uses of robots.

Nowadays, robots are using in various sectors. Following are the sectors in which robots are using as per applications.

Industries

It is programmable, and the flexible joint can move on any axis. Those are cost-effective and widely used in the manufacturing industries like an automobile. They are usually for performing applications like bolting, welding, checking alignment, painting, and assembly. These robots are very precise to work, do tasks within time, and without errors. As per research, 2.6 million industrial robots are using in industry.

Domestic

These robots are mainly using for household applications like cleaning homes with a vacuum cleaner, gardening applications, and others. In some countries, cleaning robots are using for large commercial purposes as well.

Healthcare or Medical

These robots are using for surgery, rehabilitation, pharmacy automation, and biorobots. Delicate medical surgery is being carried out telemanipulator. It is being operated by a surgeon. Robot-assisted surgery can be conducted from any part of the world.

Military

These robots are using in difficult situations where human error can be adverse, and the situation can be dangerous. Drones bomb disposal and rescue robots are using in such situations. Those can transverse through tough conditions without self-destruction in any part of the earth and have better results.

Service sectors

Those robots can be visitor registration grant access through facial recognition and offer information in malls for narrating shopping guideline have communication. These can use for security purposes. It can guard the premises and alert in abnormal conditions, in some leakage and breakdown. It can serve in agriculture, travel, and entertainment purpose as well.


Three laws of robotics

Famous writer Isaac Asimov proposed three laws of robotics. Those laws prevent robots to harm a human.

1. The robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. (Asimov 1984)

After some time, the Zeroth law is added. It states that “A robot may not harm humanity or by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

Above, Asimov’s laws of robotics are not related to scientific laws. Those are the instructions need for every robot in his stories to prevent them from malfunctioning in a way that could be dangerous.


Fear of layoff due to use of robotics and robots in industries

As the combination of Robotics and AI (artificial intelligence) had taken us to the top level of our luxurious life.

Many day to day work for humans and manufacturing parts have been precisely and cost-effectively done by robots. Will it wipe out human labor in the future?

Some research stated that by putting a robot to work over 1000 people in the US, wages were decreased by 0.42%. It degrades down the ratio of employment to the population by 0.2%.

The utilization of robots in the industry increases productivity. But, it adversely affects the labor demand and their incomes. The use of robots in the industry has been four-fold increasing worldwide.

In the electronics industry, 15 % of robots are using while 10% are in the chemical industry. Those lead to some layoffs of employees in those industries.

Automotive industries had way far ahead. It has adopted 38% of robots, which gives the gross count of 7.5 robots over 1000 workers.

Reports presented by IBM’s Watson proved on Jeopardy that robots are getting smarter than humans. So this will be going to impact the human labor available.


Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of robots in industries. It will give us a brief idea of the cause of layoff that might occur.

Advantages of Robots in Industries

  • The production rate increases with constancy due to the use of robots.
  • The products obtained with higher dimensional accuracy and errorless.
  • These are more reliable than humans and can work full time.
  • These can use in difficult & dangerous fieldwork.
  • Delicate surgery can carry out and with positive results.
  • Robots can be cost-effective and require less time.
  • High demand for robots will create new job opportunities.

Disadvantages of Robots in Industries

  • Robots require a high initial cost to set up to install and configure.
  • Highly expertise and training professionals require to take care of the robots.
  • The maintenance cost is high as they require a maintained temperature to work.
  • Small malfunction in the operating system can lead to disastrous effects.
  • Cybersecurity becomes an area that needs constant inspection. Because it is the heart of the whole working system. There is a chance of getting hack.
  • Robots need to be multifunction rather than to perform a single task.

Future job opportunities due to robotics

As one door closes, then another door opens with double opportunities.

As future for robotics is quite bright than any other industry. Advanced developments in robotics will lead to creating plenty of jobs. It will open the door to the ocean. It has captured many industries. Some of the fields are Automation, Artificial Intelligence, micro-robotics, digital electronics, biocybernetics, robot manipulator, Robot motion, Computational geometry, pharmaceutical, packaging, etc. There is no doubt that it will change the whole world.

To full fill the above purposes, there is a need for the programmer, AI engineer, ML engineer, computer-aided design, Mechanical engineer, Electrical engineer, and more.

Frequently asked questions about robotics.

Why robotics is important?

It can make the life of the human being easier in the aspect of security, the accuracy of work, efficiency, and able to provide various kinds of services. In the industries, robots are helping human beings in critical and repeated works more.

Where is robotics used?

Nowadays, robotics is everywhere. It is mostly used in the military, navy, army, medical field, research labs, warehouses, in homes, production & manufacturing industries.

What is robotics in simple words?

It is a study of how to make robots and utilize them for specific tasks. It is using in various industries like automobile, manufacturing, and others to reduce human effort, do repetitive tasks & increase production.

Special thanks to Mr. Akshay Pawar for contributing.