In times of scientific and technological advancements, we come across ground-breaking inventions and discoveries. Most of these scientific and technological breakthroughs are a result of the intellectual and technical advancement of humans over a period of time. Technology and science have brought about an unprecedented and revolutionary change in the lives of human. The lifestyle, the way we learn, the way we think and perceive things have witnessed a significant change over the period of time. These tremendous scientific advancements have often led to a conflict of ideas and thoughts. Often we are led to believe that humans are intellectually the most superior of all living creatures capable of performing challenging and often times seemingly impossible tasks.
The advent of artificial intelligence and the impact it has created in practically every field of life has raised the possibility of achieving insights and performing tasks that are almost impossible for humans to perform on their own. So the question is: Has Artificial Intelligence come of age to challenge human intelligence? This may be a long-standing and an ongoing debate, or it may seem, but we cannot certainly deny that artificial intelligence is and will continue to play a remarkable role
How has Robotics Impacted Us
One branch of Artificial Intelligence that has really intrigued humans and become a popular and fascinating subject of learning among science and technology enthusiast is Robotics.
Robotics commonly refers to the field of computer science and technology concerned with conception, designing, creation and operation of robots, the machines that can execute and complete various multiple tasks with precision. The design and functions of robots may vary depending on the purpose and objective for which they are built, the way they are controlled and programmed and how they operate. From human resembling androids to autonomous industrial robots th
in the near future.
at perform repetitive tasks that are monotonous and beyond human interest and capacity at a stretch, robots have wide applications in our daily lives.
Even before foraying into the field of robotics one should be familiar with the operational and scientific details of the subject. It may prove to be a very technical and challenging task to some depending on individual’s aptitude for the subject. It is often advised that In order to breed familiarity with robots one must start learning about it from an early stage which is exactly what parents in the developed nations encourage their kids to do. The task of building one’s own robot from the scratch.
h is an expert task and involves a great set of technical and scientific skills as opposed to trying out build-your-own robot kits that are available across various retail platforms.
Robots: Scratch building vs Do-it-Yourself Kit
There are two ways to proceed with having a robot build. Depending on what kind of robot one wants to build and the technical knowhow one possess on the subject one may choose to proceed accordingly. Both methods offer great opportunities to acquaint oneself with the learning experience and benefit from it.
Building a robot from the scratch
Keeping in mind the robot one wants to build one must carefully study and choose the method and consider the required materials for building the robot. Materials like plywood or sheet metal are extensively used for this purpose but one may opt for a ready-made product to serve as the base for this purpose. Starting from scratch involves the use of raw materials like plastic, wood, metal to make the body of the robot shaping it in the desired form. Following simple steps may help ease the task and simplify the process of starting from scratch
Choice of tools and materials for building the Body and circuit-board
The common tools required for the purpose may include the following:
Screw-driver & wrenches, hammer, metal & wood saw, measuring tapes, files, drill-press, knives, welder. Electronic equipment may include soldering rods for assembling electronic circuits etc. Breadboards are used for making electronic circuits.
The raw material chosen for the body should be suitable for machining and shaping requirements. These materials should be chosen so as to match the technical skills one possess to built the robot.
Wood is one of the most common materials used for this purpose owing to its ease of availability and ability to be mold easily using common tools. Hardwood plywoods offer the best option here. It is sturdy and stays intact without delaminating. The quality of the wood and its structuring possibility should be taken into account here.
Plastic is often the preferred choice of material in most robot building projects. A more advanced method for molding plastic is injecting molten plastic in metal castings to obtain the desired form but amateur robot builders may not have this option. Therefore a careful choice of plastic shape is a must be it sheet, bar, rod, block, pipes etc. The types of plastic used is also important depending on the purpose for which it is chosen.
An acrylic material can be used for body designing considering limitations of weight and shock absorption. Polycarbonates are relatively stronger than acrylic. Polyvinyl Chloride material can be cut, drilled and used as a substitute for wood. Thus the variety of plastic available should be chosen after thorough research.
Metals are the most archetypal choice of material for robot building but may incur a cost and extensive cutting and shaping efforts are required. The weight may also add to a bulkier and heavier body casting for the robot. Aluminium and steel are generally preferred metals as they are relatively easier metals to work with for this purpose. They make sturdy and shock resistant bodies for external and outdoor use. Metal frames provide added support to the body and the base of the robot. The bodily capacity of the robots can be improved using thin sturdy sheets that can resist external force and remain intact.
Other composite materials may include fibreglass, carbon or graphite and combined laminates of plastic, wood & fibre etc.
Electronic equipment requirement may include oscilloscope, multi-meter, variable power supplies, LED’s along with connectors and cables etc.
The task of building a robot from the scratch is a time consuming and tedious task and often suited to those individuals that possess the technical skills, are willing to devote time and make the best use of the resources and raw materials available at their disposal.
Programmable robot kits are a great alternative for individuals who are opposed to building a robot from the scratch. A great way to find one’s way into the learning of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), these kits are designed to suit the needs of individuals who want to learn the basics of programming a robot to perform various tasks. This requires cognitive skills to assemble a collection of parts to make a working device that can be programmed accordingly. This requires a great deal of patience and analytical skill to figure out the various components and parts and their functionalities in the device that it may result in. The assembling of the component parts may also help in learning the skills of customization to suit the requirements of the user.
The build-your-own-robot kits are readily available across retail platforms and a careful research is required to choose the right kit. These kits help learn multiple aspects of robotics including assembly, programming, and custom modification. Some kits may also require soldering of electronic components. The considerations of a programming language used may range from simple text-based language to use of graphics-oriented ones.
Some of the programmable robots one must look into before going on to buy are as follows:
All these kits come with varied specifications and unique features for its users and one must look into these specifications and go through the features before making a choice on the robot kit one wants to purchase. Overall they are a great alternative to indulge in self-learning of robotics and familiarizing with their use and functions.
The choice of building a robot from scratch or opting to buy a build-your-own-robot kit is one that rests with the individual. Both ways offer great opportunities to learn the fine intricacies of robotic science with one offering a chance to explore one’s own ability to create a masterpiece of one’s own, on the other hand, kits may provide the first-hand readymade components to test the analytical and cognitive skills of the users.