"A robot is a reprogrammable, multifunctional manipulator designed to move material, parts, tools or specialized devices through variable programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks."
- Robot Institute of America, 1979
A mechanical device that can interact with surroundings
Sensors that provide feedback from environment
A system to communicate between the mechanical device and sensory data
Isaac Asimov, who is considered to be the Father of Robotics, proposed three "Laws of Robotics" in 1942, later adding the Zeroth Law:
Law 0: A robot may not injure humanity or through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm
Law 1: A robot may not injure a human being or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless this would violate a higher order law
Law 2: A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with a higher order law
Law 3: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with a higher order law
The term "robot" is derived from a Czech word that means forced labor. It was coined by Karel Capek, a playwright that invented fictional robot monsters.
Robots can be divided into three main categories:
- These robots are dedicated to performing repetitive manufacturing tasks that are often unsafe or unpleasant for human workers. They are designed to repeat the same process over and over without change. Modern industrial robots can easily be programmed to perform new applications.
- These robots are designed to assist in exploring and gathering data. They are often used in space applications, surgeries, and household chores. They are designed to not only interact with the environment, but react appropriately, thus coining the term "artificial intelligence."
- These robots are sometimes considered toys or kits and are designed to provide an educational experience. Educational robots are used in competitions and for learning experience. They often have the ability to simulate learned behavior.