It was always thought that by the year 2000 we would be relying on robots to do our work for us, as well as flying cars and hover boards. Well, that’s what books and films of the 1960’s will tell you. Of course it hasn’t quite worked out that way, but robotic technology is slowly creeping up on us. It won’t be long before those predictions are nearly spot on.
A Brief History Of Robots
The word robot was actually coined in 1920, by Russian writer Karel Capek and his brother Josef. Since then, there have been several science fiction novels and films all depicting “machine-humans” and robots. The first installed industrial robot didn’t appear until 1961 and was called the Unimate. It was completely programmable and digitally operated, which meant that it could be used to lift hot pieces of metal and stack them. The 1970s was an important time for technology and robotics, as more thought was given into the maneuverability and the way a robot ‘thought’. Robotics have become a lot more developed since then and are now used throughout the industrial and commercial World, as well as being turned into toys and gadgets!
How They Work
There are many different types of robots, all built with a specific job or task in mind. Each will have its own specially designed interface unit and computer system, that can be programmable depending on what is required from the machine. Many movable robots will be powered by heavy duty batteries, but those used in industrial work will tend to be connected to a separate power supply. An industrial connector will then ensure that the power supply is protected and that the robot is being supplied with the right amount of power to function. There are several other parts that make up a robotics machine such as actuators, motors, nanotubes, sensors and even computer vision. Depending on what the robot is being created for it may have navigational skills, speech recognition and even be able to ‘touch’ although nowhere near as advanced as a human.
The Future Of Robotics
This area of technology is definitely moving quickly, with more and more companies trying to outdo each other in the robot stakes. So far we have seen several robots that act like humans, but without the real emotions. There are also robotic cars that can be controlled from miles away and navigate themselves through risky terrain. Many armies now use unmanned vehicles and robotic cars with cameras attached to scout out an area without risking lives. If this is what they can do now then it’s a wonder what will be coming in the future. Japan seem to be leading the way in their robotics, although mainly for entertainment as opposed to any industrial purpose. It won’t be long before we have robot butlers and even robotic taxi drivers.
Robotics is an industry that is constantly growing and evolving. As new technology is researched there become more and more uses for a robot at work, or even at home.