Robot generations

Chapter Robot generations

Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics Third Edition Book
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Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics Third Edition Book

  • These rules were first coined in the 1940s, but they are still considered good stan-dards for robots nowadays.Robot generationsSome researchers have analyzed the evolution of robots, marking progress accord-ing to so-called robot generations. This has been done with computers and inte-grated circuits, so it only seems natural to do it with robots, too. One of the firstengineers to make formal mention of robot generations was the Japanese engineerEiji Nakano.First generationAccording to Nakano, a first-generation robot is a simple mechanical arm withoutAI. Such machines have the ability to make precise motions at high speed, manytimes, for a long time. They have found widespread industrial application and havebeen around for more than half a century. These are the fast-moving systems that in-stall rivets and screws in assembly lines, that solder connections on printed circuits,and that, in general, have taken over tedious, mind-numbing chores that used to bedone by humans.First-generation robots can work in groups if their actions are synchronized. Theoperation of these machines must be constantly watched, because if they get out ofalignment and are allowed to keep operating anyway, the result can be a series of badproduction units. At worst, a misaligned and unsupervised robot might create havoc ofa sort that you can hardly begin to imagine even if you let your mind run wild.Second generationA second-generation robot has some level of AI. Such a machine is equipped withpressure sensors, proximity sensors, tactile sensors, binocular vision, binaural hear-ing, and/or other devices that keep it informed about goings-on in the world aroundit. A computer called a robot controller processes the data from the sensors and ad-justs the operation of the robot accordingly. The earliest second-generation robotscame into common use around 1980.Second-generation robots can stay synchronized with each other, without having tobe overseen constantly by a human operator. Of course, periodic checking is neededwith any machine, because things can always go wrong, and the more complex the sys-tem, the more ways it can malfunction.Third generationNakano gave mention to third-generation robots, but in the years since the publi-cation of his original paper, some things have changed. Two major avenues are de-veloping for advanced robot technology. These are the autonomous robot and theinsect robot. Both of these technologies hold promise for the future.An autonomous robot can work on its own. It contains a controller and can dothings largely without supervision, either by an outside computer or by a human being.A good example of this type of third-generation robot is the personal robot aboutwhich technophiles dream.Robot generations645