This article is a continuation of my series on Building Robots with Python. This is the second article on Robots with Python, if you have missed the first one of this series then I will recommend you to read the first one from here, then you can come back here. As the title suggests, In this article, I will take you through the main parts of a Robot.
Understanding the Main Parts of a Robot
You can break all robots into four types of components:
- Motors and actuators
Now, let’s go through all these main parts of a robot.
Computers are ubiquitous in robotics. You have one computer controlling the cameras, another computer controlling each joint of the arms, and another computer interpreting the images from the cameras and reading the sensors monitoring the environment around the robot.
These computers are mostly small computers called on-board systems. They may have only one purpose (like monitoring the amount of current used for a motor) or they may coordinate an entire arm, telling other computers what to do.
The higher-level computers in the system are used to schedule and receive orders from other robots (or the assembly line itself) and people. And, yes, most of these top-level computers are programmed in Python.
Motors and Actuators
Motors and actuators are that main parts of the robot that differentiates robots from computers. These motors come in all kinds of types and sizes. An actuator is a term whose definition is somewhat broader than that of motors.
For example, an actuator could be a memory wire, which is a type of metal that can be heated to perform an action and later when it cools it returns to its original size. It’s a bit like muscle fibre and it has many uses in the robotics industry.
Robots need to communicate. Not just verbally or even on screen, but in a digital format that other computers and robots understand to coordinate actions and react to the environment.
And robots use communications to offload complex tasks (like, say, interpreting computer vision) to other computers, sometimes even in the cloud. And many of these main parts of a robot for communication devices (BlueTooth, TCP / IP networks, WiFi) use computers inside the communication devices.
We admit it. We love sensors. We always lookout for the latest and greatest sensors. Electricity, temperature, humidity, electronic gyroscopes, pressure, touch sensors, people sensors, cameras and image processing sensors are becoming more and more cheap and ubiquitous every day. Many of these sensors and functions are programmed using Python for the task of data processing and running hardware drivers.
Unfortunately, in modern robotics and on-board systems, these components all end up getting somewhat mixed up. An engine in a robot will have a computer, communications, and sensors.
I hope you liked this article on the main parts of a robot. This was the second article on the series of Robots with Python. Feel free to ask your valuable questions in the comments section below. You can also follow me on Medium to learn every topic of Machine Learning and Python.