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Introduction: What Robots Are

"RobotA mechanical device which can be programmed to perform some task of

manipulation or locomotion under automatic control." [Note: The meaning of the
words "can be programmed" is not clarified. Programs can differ in their nature, and
we will discuss this aspect later in greater detail.]
"Industrial robot A programmable, multi-function manipulator designed to move
material, parts, tools, or specialized devices through variable programmed motions
for the performance of a variety of tasks."
"Pick and place robotA simple robot, often with only two or three degrees of
freedom, which transfers items from place to place by means of point-to-point moves.
Little or no trajectory control is available. Often referred to as a 'bangbang' robot."
"ManipulatorA mechanism, usually consisting of a series of segments, jointed or
sliding relative to one another, for the purpose of grasping and moving objects usually
in several degrees of freedom. It may be remotely controlled by a computer or by a
human." [Note: The words "remotely controlled.. .by a human" indicate that this device
is not automatic.]
"Intelligent robotA robot which can be programmed to make performance choices
contingent on sensory inputs."
"Fixed-stop robotA robot with stop point control but no trajectory control. That
is, each of its axes has a fixed limit at each end of its stroke and cannot stop except at
one or the other of these limits. Such a robot with AT degrees of freedom can thereforestop at no more
than 2Nlocations (where location includes position and orientation).
Some controllers do offer the capability of program selection of one of several mechanical
stops to be used. Often very good repeatability can be obtained with a fixed-stop
"AndroidA robot which resembles a human in physical appearance."
"Sensory-controlled robotA robot whose program sequence can be modified as a
function of information sensed from its environment. Robot can be servoed or nonservoed.
(See Intelligent robot.)"
"Open-loop robotA robot which incorporates no feedback, i.e., no means of comparing
actual output to command input of position or rate."
"Mobile robotA robot mounted on a movable platform."
"Limited-degree-of-freedom robotA robot able to position and orient its end effector
in fewer than six degrees of freedom."

Fig. Manipulator or
automatic arm.

Kinds of Robots
Every tool or instrument that is used by people can be described in a general form,
as is shown in Figure. Here, an energy source, a control unit, and the tool itself are
connected in some way. The three components need not be similar in nature or in
level of complexity.

Figure. Energy-control-tool relations.
The following mechanical problems:
The nature of the optimal conceptual solution for achieving a particular goal;
The type of tools or organs to be created for handling the subject under
The means of establishing the mechanical displacements, trajectories, and
movements of the tools;
The ways of providing the required rate of motion;
The means of ensuring the required accuracy or, in other words, how not to
exceed the allowed deviation in the motion of tools or other elements.
Let us return here to the definition of a manipulator, as given in Section 1.1. A manipulator
may be defined as "a mechanism, usually consisting of a series of segments,
jointed or sliding relative to one another, for the purpose of grasping and moving
objects usually in several degrees of freedom. It may be remotely controlled by a computer
or by a human" [2]. It follows from this definition that a manipulator may belong
to systems of type 1 or 4, as described in Section 1.2, and are therefore not on a level
of complexity usually accepted for robots. We must therefore distinguish between manually
activated and automatically activated manipulators.
Manually activated manipulators were created to enable man to work under harmful
conditions such as in radioactive, extremely hot or cold, or poisonous environments,
under vacuum, or at high pressures. The development of nuclear science and its applications
led to a proliferation in the creation of devices of this sort. One of the first such
manipulators was designed by Goertz at the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S.A.
Such devices consist of two "arms," a control arm and a serving arm. The connection
between the arms provides the serving arm with the means of duplicating, at a distance,
the action of the control arm, and these devices are sometimes called teleoperators.
(Such a device is a manually, remotely controlled manipulator.) This setup is shown
schematically in Figure 1.9, in which the partition protects the operator sitting on the
manual side of the device from the harmful environment of the working zone. The
serving arm in the working zone duplicates the manual movements of the operator
using the gripper on his side of the wall. The window allows the operator to follow the
processes in the working zone. This manipulator has seven degrees of freedom, namely,
rotation around the X-X axis, rotation around the joints A, translational motion along
the F-Faxis, rotation around the F-Faxis, rotation around the joints B, rotation around
the Z-Zaxis, and opening and closing of the grippers. The kinematics of such a device
is cumbersome and is usually based on a combination of pulleys and cables (or ropes).
In Figure 1.10 we show one way of transmitting the motion for only three (out of
the total of seven) degrees of freedom. The rotation relative to the X-X axis is achieved
by the cylindrical pipe 1 which is placed in an immovable drum mounted in the partition.
The length of the pipe determines the distance between the operator and the
servo-actuator. The inside of the pipe serves as a means of communication for exploiting
the other degrees of freedom. The rotation around the joints A-A is effected by a connecting rod 2
which creates a four-bar linkage, thus providing parallel movement
of the arms. The movement along this FFaxis is realized by a system of pulleys and
cable 3, so that by pulling the body 4, say, downwards, we cause movement of the body

Figure.Manually actuated manipulator/teleoperator.

Actuators in robotics
-What is an actuator in robotics?

A mechanical device for actively moving or
driving something.
Source of movement (drive), taxonomy:
Electric drive (motor).
-Hydraulic drive.
-Pneumatic drive.
-Internal combustion, hybrids.
-Miscellaneous: ion thruster, thermal shape
memory effect, artificial muscles, etc.


Electrical motor.
Hydraulic drive.
Pneumatic drive.
Miscellaneous: Artificial muscles.