• Question: how are robots made

    Asked by bervin on 7 Jan 2015.
    • Photo: Kate Mulcahy

      Kate Mulcahy answered on 7 Jan 2015:

      There are many different ways to make robots.
      Firstly you have to think about what you mean by the word robot.
      One way of describing a robot is a machine that works automatically and looks like a human or animal. This type of robot has been made by humans for hundreds of years even before they had figured out how to use electricity to build machines. These machines used things like elastic, rope, pulleys, gears and weights and many other things to make the robots move.

      When people figured out how to use electricity robots became even more advanced. You can build a very basic moving robot using a simple motor, wheels and a battery for example. It won’t do very complex tasks but it will move along by itself while the battery lasts.

      A more modern definition of a robot is a machine that can do very complex tasks.
      The invention of the computer meant robots could be programmed to do very complex things. They could put computer software into robots and program them to do all sorts of things like playing chess, flying planes, running like a cheetah and many other amazing tasks. These robots could also process information so they could store information and change their actions to react. You see this with the balancing hexapod from the lecture three.
      As computer have gotten smaller and faster the potential for robots can do is advancing all the time.
      Personally when I build robots at home I like to use things I find lying around the house and then an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi to make them intelligent and reactive. The good thing about this is the controllers aren’t very expensive and there are lots of guides on the internet on how to build simple robots with them.