Thursday, January 29, 2004

Robotic Basics

In order to create a general theory of robotics, you need to get down to simple basics of what exactly a robot is. I will ignore all the pop culture perception of robots and create my own working definition:

A robot is an autonomous machine composed of sensors and effectors that acts in the real-world to accomplish a task.

What's interesting is what this throws out as not being a robot. Sensorless mechanical arms are not included in this definition. A robot should perceive its environment some way and act on it.

Programs that run in simulated worlds are not robots. In order to classify something as a robot, it must exist in the real physical world and deal with that world's uncertainties, noise, change, lack of structure, and physical laws. Although simulations can be used in design of robots, they must always be verified in the real world.

Autonomous machines that have no tasks to accomplish are not robots (although they could be if you defined their task as "wandering aimlessly"). This is just a working definition that makes our analysis much easier if we always assume there is a goal.


Post a Comment

<< Home