Robotics

Simulations here

History of Robots here

This week we focus on the robot itself; the constituent parts (its anatomy). This includes:

  • the means to allow it to move
  • and to sense its environment
  • its ‘brain’
  • its power supply

These are crucial to having an operating robot but are not the full picture. For instance, we also have to:

  • ensure the robot does move as we want it to
  • decide on suitable actions of the robot

As humans, we primarily sense our world visually, using our eyes. Our two eyes help for instance to work out how far away an object is and so it seems sensible to add cameras to robots.

However, associated with our eyes we have advanced brains – these allow us to:

  • Interpret what we see
  • Distinguish different objects from the scene
  • Identify each of the objects
  • Cope when one object is in front and hence obscures another

If we want a robot to use cameras we need:

  • A computer running complicated programs to process the image
  • Lots of memory to store the camera images

suppose we want the robot to continually explore its environment without bumping into obstacles, where it has sensors for detecting if there is an obstacle on the left or the right. This could be achieved by the robot repeatedly obeying the following:

  • Read Information From Sensors
  • IF neither sensor sees an obstacle Go Forward
  • IF left sensor only sees an obstacle Turn to the Right
  • IF right sensor only sees an obstacle Turn to the Left
  • IF both sensors see an obstacle Go Back
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