Coding Ireland STEM Report 2024 Have Your Say
20 mins
85 points
What you need:

What is a Robot?

In this lesson, we will learn about robots - what they are, what they look like, what they can do, and how they work. We'll explore different ways robots are used in different industries and environments. By the end of the lesson, we'll have a better understanding of what robotics is and how robots are changing the world around us.

Learning Goals Learning Outcomes

1 - Introduction

Robots are advanced machines capable of executing tasks autonomously, without the need for human intervention. They're often engineered to carry out jobs that are deemed too hazardous, challenging, or time-consuming for humans.

Robots are equipped with sensors, motors, and other components that enable them to interact with their surroundings and make decisions based on the data they collect. In this lesson, we'll start to explore the fascinating world of robotics and understand what makes a machine a 'robot'.

2 - Exploring the Appearance of Robots

Robots come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific purpose. Some robots, known as humanoid robots, are designed to resemble humans. They may have two arms, two legs, and a head, just like a person. This design allows them to perform tasks in a similar way to humans, such as picking up objects or walking up stairs.

There are also robots that are inspired by animals. These robots might move on legs, like a dog or a horse, or they might have wings, like a bird. The design of these robots often allows them to move in ways that wheeled robots cannot.

Some robots are designed for specific environments or tasks. For example, there are robots that can operate underwater or in the vacuum of space. These robots often look very different from humanoid or animal-inspired robots because they are designed to withstand extreme conditions.

Other robots are simpler in design, like a robotic arm used in a factory. These robots are often designed for a single task, like assembling a car or moving heavy objects. Despite their simplicity, they are incredibly efficient and precise.

Then there are more complex robots, like self-driving cars. These robots have to navigate complex environments and make decisions in real-time, which requires a lot of advanced technology.

As you can see, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to robot design. The appearance of a robot often gives us clues about what it's designed to do and where it's designed to operate.

3 - What can robots do?

Robots are incredibly versatile machines capable of performing a variety of tasks, depending on their design and programming. For example, some robots are designed to help us with everyday tasks, such as vacuuming the house or even preparing meals.

Others are used in industrial settings, where they can assemble products with precision and speed. There are also robots designed for scientific research and exploration. These robots can be sent to environments that are too dangerous or inaccessible for humans, like the depths of the ocean or the surface of other planets.

Consider the different tasks that robots can perform and how their design and programming enable them to carry out these tasks.

4 - How do robots work?

Robots are complex machines that consist of several key components, including sensors, motors, and controllers. Let's break down these components:

Sensors - These are like the robot's senses. They help the robot gather information about its surroundings, just like how our eyes, ears, and skin send information to our brain.

Motors - These are the muscles of the robot. They enable the robot to move or manipulate objects in its environment.

Controllers - This is the brain of the robot. It runs the software that processes the information from the sensors and decides what actions the motors should take.

By understanding these components, you can start to see how robots interact with and respond to their environment.

5 - Where are robots used?

Robots have a wide range of applications and can be found in numerous settings. They're used in factories for tasks like assembly and packaging, in hospitals for surgery or patient care, and even in our homes for chores like vacuuming or mowing the lawn.

Robots also play a crucial role in exploration and safety. For instance, they're deployed in hazardous environments such as nuclear power plants or mines, where it's unsafe for humans. They're also used for exploring hard-to-reach areas like the deep sea or the vastness of outer space.

Try and list down five different environments where robots are used. For each environment, provide a brief description of the role of robots in that setting.

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