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Robot and environment

What does a robot have to do when interacting with its environment. Professor Richard Mitchell explains more in this article.
Two of the University of Reading's ERIC robots, one side on, one with the wheel facing.
© University of Reading

Whatever type of robot we have: a robot arm, a wheeled robot, a ‘humanoid’ i.e. 2 legged robot, or a multi-legged robot (insect), it:

  • will have a task to do;
  • will operate somewhere;
  • may need to interact with other robots or other objects.

This means it will need:

  • to be able to detect where it is and where other objects are – hence the robot needs sensors;
  • to move appropriately and indicate to others its operation. This requires actuators.

These in turn allow the robot to detect and interact with its environment. In addition the robot needs a brain which determines what it should do, and a means of powering itself.

First, however, let’s consider some of the sensors and actuators found in robots…

© University of Reading
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