Introduction to the Robotics.

Will COVID-19 Accelerate Robotics in the Supply Chain? – IoT World Today

What is a ROBOT?

  • A robot is a machine designed to execute one or more tasks automatically with speed and precision. 
  • Robot (robota = executive labour)
  • he robot is defined as a machine able to carry out tasks automatically to replace or improve human work.


Robotics is a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots. This field overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology and bioengineering.

Asimos three law of Robotics.

  1. A 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 it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws

EPSRC / AHRC principles of robotics

  1. Robots should not be designed solely or primarily to kill or harm humans.
  2. Humans, not robots, are responsible agents. Robots are tools designed to achieve human goals.
  3. Robots should be designed in ways that assure their safety and security.
  4. Robots are artifacts; they should not be designed to exploit vulnerable users by evoking an emotional response or dependency. It should always be possible to tell a robot from a human.
  5. It should always be possible to find out who is legally responsible for a robot.

Why we use ROBOTS

  1. For jobs that are dangerous for humans.
  2. Repetitive jobs that are boring, stressful, or labor intensive for humans
  3. Manual tasks that human don’t want to do

History of Robotics

  • 250 B.C. – Ctesibius, an ancient Greek engineer and mathematician, invented a water clock which was the most accurate for nearly 2000 years.
  • 1898 – The first radio-controlled submersible boat was invented by Nikola Tesla.
  • Robotics was first introduced into our vocabulary by Czech playwright Karel Capek in his 1920’s play Rossum’s Universal Robots. 
  • 1948 – William Grey Walter builds Elmer and Elsie, two of the earliest autonomous robots with the appearance of turtles. The robots used simple rules to produce complex behaviors.
  • 1955 – The Darmouth Summer Research Conference marks the birth of AI. Marvin Minsky, from the AI lab at MIT defines an intelligent machine as one that would tend to “build up within itself an abstract model of the environment in which it is placed.  If it were given a problem, it could first explore solutions within the internal abstract model of the environment and then attempt external experiments”. This approach dominated robotics research for the next 30 years. 
  • 1956 – Researchers aim to combine “perceptual and problem-solving capabilities,” using computers, cameras, and touch sensors. The idea is to study the types of intelligent actions these robots are capable of. A new discipline is born: A.I.
  • 1960`s – Industrial Robots created. Robotic Industries Association states that an “industrial robot is a re-programmable, multifunctional manipulator designed to move materials, parts, tools, or specialized devices through variable programmed motions to perform a variety of tasks”.
  • 1966 – 1968 ‘Shakey‘, a mobile robot is developed by SRI (Stanford Research Institute). ‘Shakey’ was capable of planning, route-finding and moving objects. It was placed in a special room with specially colored objects. A vision system would recognize objects and pushed objects according to a plan. This planning software was STRIPS, and it maintained and updated a world model. The robot had pan/tilt and focus for the camera, and bump sensors.
  • 1977 – Development of mobile robot Hilaire at Laboratoise d’Automatique et d’Analyse des Systemes (LAAS) in Toulouse, France. This mobile robot had three wheels and it is still in use.
  • 1986 – Honda starts work on its first humanoid, robot named ‘E0’ (later to become ASIMO).
  • 1988 – SCAMP designed as the first robot pet with emotions.
  • 1997 – Sojourner becomes the first rover to land on Mars as part of the Mars Pathfinder mission.
  • 1998 – Lego enters the robotics market with its first version of Lego Mindstorms.
  • 2010 – NASA and General Motors join forces to develop Robonaut-2, the new version of NASA’s humanoid robot astronaut.

Two famous robots:

  • 1978- Puma (Programmable Universal Machine for Assembly),  by Unimation. 
  • 1979 – SCARA (Selective Compliant Articulated Robot for Assembly) introduced in Japan and the US (by Adept Technologies).

Most popular type of robots

  • and wheeled, tracked, and legged robots
  • Aerial planes, helicopters, and blimp
  • Aquatic boats, submarines, and swimming robots
  • Misc. and mixed robots
  • Stationary robot arms, and  manipulators
  1. Wheeled robots

Wheels are by far the most popular method of providing mobility to a robot and are used to propel many different sized robots and robotic platforms. Wheels can be just about any size, from a few centimeters  up to 30 cm and more . Tabletop robots tend to have the smallest wheels, usually less than 5 cm in diameter. Robots can have just about any number of wheels, although 3 and 4 are the most common.


Usually low-cost compared to other methods

Simple design and construction


May lose traction (slip)

Small contact area (only a small rectangle or line underneath each wheel is in contact with the ground)

2. Track Robots

Tracks (or treads) are what tanks use. Although tracks do not provide added “force” (torque), they do reduce slip and more evenly distribute the weight of the robot, making them useful for loose surfaces such as sand and gravel


Constant contact with the ground prevents slipping that might occur with wheels

Evenly distributed weight helps your robot tackle a variety of surfaces


hen turning, there is a sideways force that acts on the ground; this can cause damage to the surface

Increased mechanical complexity (idler placement and number, # of links) and connections

3. Legs

An increasing number of robots use legs for mobility. Legs are often preferred for robots that must navigate on very uneven terrain. Most amateur robots are designed with six legs, which allow the robot to be statically balanced (balanced at all times on 3 legs); robots with fewer legs are harder to balance. The latter require “dynamic stability”, meaning that if the robot stops moving mid-stride, it might fall over. Researchers have experimented with monopod (one legged “hopping”) designs, though bipeds (two legs), quadrupeds (four legs), and hexapods (six legs) are the  most popular.


Closer to organic or natural motion

Can potentially overcome large obstacles and navigate very rough terrain


Increased mechanical, electronic and coding complexity (not the easiest way to get into robotics).

Lower battery size despite increased power demands

Higher cost to build

4. Arms & Grippers

Although these do not fall under the category of mobile robotics, the field of robotics essentially started with arms and end-effectors (devices that attach to the end of an arm such as grippers, electromagnets etc.). Arms and grippers are the best way for a robot to interact with the environment it is exploring. Simple robot arms can have just one motion, while more complex arms can have a dozen or more unique degrees of freedom.


Very simple to very complex design possibilities

Easy to make a 3 or 4 degree of freedom robot arm (two joints and turning base)


Stationary unless mounted on a mobile platform

Cost to build is proportional to lifting capability

5. Industrial Robots

  • Articulated – This robot design features rotary joints and can range from simple two joint structures to 10 or more joints. The arm is connected to the base with a twisting joint. The links in the arm are connected by rotary joints. Each joint is called an axis and provides an additional degree of freedom, or range of motion. Industrial robots commonly have four or six axes.

  • Cartesian – These are also called rectilinear or gantry robots. Cartesian robots have three linear joints that use the Cartesian coordinate system (X, Y, and Z). They also may have an attached wrist to allow for rotational movement. The three prismatic joints deliver a linear motion along the axis.

  • Cylindrical – The robot has at least one rotary joint at the base and at least one prismatic joint to connect the links. The rotary joint uses a rotational motion along the joint axis, while the prismatic joint moves in a linear motion. Cylindrical robots operate within a cylindrical-shaped work envelope.

  • Polar – Also called spherical robots, in this configuration the arm is connected to the base with a twisting joint and a combination of two rotary joints and one linear joint.  The axes form a polar coordinate system and create a spherical-shaped work envelope.

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