The concept of a robot was premised due to the need of compensating for human errors and limitations. This formed the reason for building robots to replicate human and animal behaviors then integrate sensors, motors, controllers with artificially designed brains to enable them perform tasks interfacing with humans. Since robots are built with structures like machines and metals or plastics forming their physical outlook, computerized nature due to a structured software program, it has the possibility for malfunction, and if that becomes the case, “how safe are humans interfacing with robots?” We need to answer by considering Asimov’s stated rules guiding the way robots behave;
1. They must never harm human beings.
2. They must follow instructions from human beings without contravening law 1.
3. They must protect themselves without contravening the other laws.
These laws then formed the standard on which intelligent robots are developed with keen attention on technical and social issues that might arise when they are in use. This informs our confidence in engaging the services of a robot like in our homes to handle most part of our lives by doing most domestic chores and creating absolute ease managing a home. More so, we can find these robots functioning in public security activities through drones for surveillance and access control devices.
Computation and Control
Task analysis and execution are carried by a silicon chip embedded in the central processing unit of the robot which is domiciled at where we can call the brain of the robot. It helps the robot to decide on actions to carry out in any given situation. They can be programmed to execute activities as simple as pick and drop or as complex as emulating humans’ facial gestures. Their central processing units are structured to collect data within and around their environment, process, perform feedback operations and execute as required. This can be related to how the human brain responds to the five senses and eventually acts accordingly. Although they are built with artificial brains, they are limitless in what they can achieve. But they can be limited in visual processing especially if they will be performing complex tasks, they need to have an intelligent sense of touch with an improved ability to quickly process sensory data. But with new sensory integrated systems that can seamlessly imitate biological neural networks, robots can definitively make conclusions about items they touch based on the information the vision and touch sensors collected in real-time.
Sensors and Actuators
These are devices integrated into robots to collect data based on the existing parameter and respond. They also receive feedback signals on behalf of the robots to enable the robot to replicate human behaviors and senses like light dependent resistors used for vision as the eyes and multi-acoustic sensors used for speech. With artificial intelligence integrated, robots can even smell, touch and taste. Furthermore, sensors only initiate processes so that the collected signals are interpreted and processed by the central processing unit which then actuates the final control elements. These actuators when used on humanoids, behave in such a way that resembles human motion and also in a robot arm, the parts move in similarity to the human arm. As we can now see from humanoid robots, they are designed to move from one location to another for effective performance as well as the more advanced robots, drivetrain robots that move either on wheels or treads.
One of the major purposes of making robots is so that they are able to interact with their environment and execute specifically assigned tasks. To achieve this, they are built with manipulators to help them to relate and respond to events. The manipulators vary in shape, size and type depending on the kind of task it will be used on. For example, car manufacturers utilizing robotic machines on their assembly line, can make various interchanges especially if they will be engaging the robot for all activities like welding, drilling, bolt tensioning, paint spraying etc. While other kinds of robots are placed with universal grippers, so that they can imitate the human hand to hold on to anything like robot bomb disposals.
With the recent trends in diverse technology applications, it is clear that robots are here to stay and it is critical that humans acquire basic operational knowledge required to be able to utilize the services of a robot. For example, robots can function independently or dependently; Independent robots are designed to be completely autonomous based on specific instructions structured in their program so that humans do not need to interfere in their routine tasks while dependent robots are designed to be non-autonomous so that humans can directly interface them to improve their existing functions. Even as different types of robots are churned out regularly, researchers are continuously engaged with finding novel ways these robots can create ease on the different tasks already handled by humans.