First Look At Robotics - Online Article


If you think robots are mainly the stuff of space movies, think again. Right now, all over the world, robots are on the move. They're painting cars at Ford plants, assembling Milano cookies for Pepperidge Farms, walking into live volcanoes, driving trains in Paris, and defusing bombs in Northern Ireland. As they grow tougher, nimbler, and smarter, today's robots are doing more and more things we can't -or don't want to-do.


Leonardo da Vinci drew plans for a "Mechanical Man" in 1495.The word "robot" comes from the Czech word "robota", meaning drudgery or slave-like labor. It was first used to describe fabricated workers in a fictional 1920s play by Czech author Karel Capek called Rossum's Universal Robots. In the story, a scientist invents robots to help people by performing simple, repetitive tasks. However, once the robots are used to fight wars, they turn on their human owners and take over the world. Real robots wouldn't become possible until the 1950's and 60's, with the invention of transistors and integrated circuits. Compact, reliable electronics and a growing computer industry added brains to the brawn of already existing machines. In 1959, researchers demonstrated the possibility of robotic manufacturing when they unveiled a computer-controlled milling machine.

The Robot may be defined as:

  • "A reprogrammable, multifunctional manipulator designed to move material, parts, tools, or specialized devices through various programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks."

    --Robot Institute of America, 1979.

  • "Force through intelligence."
  • "Where AI (Artificial Intelligence) meet the real world."
  • "An automatic device that performs functions normally ascribed to humans or a machine in the form of a human."

    --Webster's Dictionary.

  • "A machine that can do some tasks that a human can do and that works automatically or is controlled by a computer."

    --Oxford Dictionary

Laws of Robotics

Scientist-turned-writer Isaac Asimov wrote many science fiction tales that featured robots as characters. In Asimov's stories, the robots were guided by a set of rules, called "The Three laws of Robotics," which prevented robots from harming people. They are:

  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 to 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 this does not conflict with the first two laws. Although Asimov wrote these laws as fiction in the 1940's, before robots existed, they reflect ongoing concerns that some people have about robots. Technically, destructive technologies like "smart" cruise missiles (which can be considered robots) are already violating Asimov's laws.

Future of Robotics

Today robots are doing more and more things we can't -or don't want to-do. They used in various Industries like: Agriculture, Automobile, Construction, Entertainment, Health care, Research, Laboratories, Law enforcement surveillance, Manufacturing, Military, Surveillance, Mining, Excavation and Exploration, Transportationetc. In future by using the technologies like Nanotechnology and Artificial Intelligence, we can make the robots which are tiny nanomachines and programmable nanorobots which will be able to operate on the human body with greater precision than ever before imagined.

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Chandra Bhushan on 2009-03-07 03:00:15 wrote,

very gud article for those who r new to robotics

Rajesh Kumar Gupta on 2009-03-07 03:06:31 wrote,

@Chandra Bhushan,
ya man. it is the basic one.