Monday, July 23, 2007

5. Parts of a Robot

a. Write down the 5 main parts of a robot and give an explanation on each, including what specific function does the part perform, what does this allow the robot to do?

Every robot is connected to a computer, which keeps the pieces of the arm working together. This computer is known as the controller. The controller functions as the "brain" of the robot. The controller also allows the robot to be networked to other systems, so that it may work together with other machines, processes, or robots.
Robots today have controllers that are run by programs - sets of instructions written in code. Almost all robots of today are entirely pre-programmed by people; they can do only what they are programmed to do at the time, and nothing else. In the future, controllers with artificial intelligence, or AI could allow robots to think on their own, even program themselves. This could make robots more self-reliant and independent.

Robot arms come in all shapes and sizes. The arm is the part of the robot that positions the end-affector and sensors to do their pre-programmed business.
Many (but not all) resemble human arms, and have shoulders, elbows, wrists, even fingers. This gives the robot a lot of ways to position itself in its environment. Each joint is said to give the robot 1 degree of freedom.
So, a simple robot arm with 3 degrees of freedom could move in 3 ways: up and down, left and right, forward and backward.

The drive is the "engine" that drives the links (the sections between the joints into their desired position. Without a drive, a robot would just sit there, which is not often helpful. Most drives are powered by air, water pressure, or electricity.

The end-effector is the "hand" connected to the robot's arm. It is often different from a human hand - it could be a tool such as a gripper, a vacuum pump, tweezers, scalpel, blowtorch - just about anything that helps it do its job. Some robots can change end-effectors, and be reprogrammed for a different set of tasks.

Most robots of today are nearly deaf and blind. Sensors can provide some limited feedback to the robot so it can do its job. Compared to the senses and abilities of even the simplest living things, robots have a very long way to go.
The sensor sends information, in the form of electronic signals back to the controller. Sensors also give the robot controller information about its surroundings and lets it know the exact position of the arm, or the state of the world around it.

b. Write down the 6 degrees of freedom.

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