Amidst the heavy development of robotic technology, there is a growing community of robotic technology hobbyists and an increased interested in school and the primary and secondary education about robotic applications in everyday life. Taking into account the convergence of robotic technology with artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (as part of Edge computing), the possibilities and features of robotics are literally endless. This article shall provide guidance on how to create your first robot at home.
There are various robotic-related technologies and types of robots available today, the most widely accessible ones being listed below.
- Industrial Robots: These robots are used in manufacturing and industrial settings for tasks such as assembly, welding, painting, and material handling. They are typically large and have high payload capacities.
- Service Robots: Service robots are designed to assist humans in various environments. They include:a. Domestic Robots: These robots are used in homes for tasks like cleaning, mowing lawns, or providing companionship. b. Medical Robots: Used in healthcare settings for surgical procedures, rehabilitation, diagnostics, and patient care. c. Defense and Security Robots: Deployed for tasks such as bomb disposal, surveillance, and border patrol. d. Hospitality Robots: Used in hotels and restaurants for tasks like customer service and food delivery.
- Mobile Robots: These robots are capable of autonomous movement and include:a. Autonomous Vehicles: Self-driving cars, drones, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). b. Exploration Robots: Robots used for space exploration, underwater exploration, or other hazardous environments. c. Agricultural Robots: Used in farming and agriculture for tasks like harvesting, planting, and monitoring crops.
- Humanoid Robots: Humanoid robots are designed to resemble humans in appearance and behavior. They often have the ability to walk, gesture, and communicate.
- Educational and Research Robots: These robots are used for teaching and research purposes, allowing users to explore robotics concepts and develop new technologies.
- Entertainment Robots: Robots created for entertainment purposes, including robot toys, interactive robots, and robotic performers.
- Collaborative Robots (Cobots): Designed to work alongside humans, these robots can safely interact and collaborate with human operators in shared workspaces.
- Swarm Robots: Consist of multiple robots that work together in a coordinated manner to achieve tasks such as collective transportation, mapping, or exploration.
- Exoskeleton Robots: Robotic devices worn by humans to enhance their strength and mobility. They find applications in rehabilitation, physical assistance, and military use.
There is a huge list of robotic applications in various areas of human life:
- Healthcare: Surgical robots, telemedicine, robotic prosthetics, rehabilitation robots, robotic exoskeletons, and patient care assistance.
- Manufacturing: Industrial robots for assembly, welding, painting, material handling, and quality control.
- Agriculture: Agricultural robots for crop monitoring, harvesting, planting, and pest control.
- Transportation: Autonomous vehicles, drones for delivery and surveillance, and logistics robots for warehouses.
- Exploration: Robots used in space exploration, underwater exploration, and search and rescue missions.
- Education: Educational robots for teaching programming, robotics, and STEM subjects.
- Entertainment and Gaming: Robot toys, interactive robots, robotic pets, and robotic performers.
- Defense and Security: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), bomb disposal robots, surveillance robots, and border patrol robots.
- Home and Personal Assistance: Domestic robots for cleaning, cooking, companionship, and personal assistance.
Follow the procedure below for creating your own robot in a home lab environments. This procedure is for beginners and aims to achieve the creation of a simple robot. The foundational principles however of robotic technology remain the same for any type of robot.
- Define the Purpose: Determine the specific purpose or function of your robot, such as line following, obstacle avoidance, or simple tasks like picking up objects.
- Select Open Hardware: Choose an open hardware platform suitable for beginners, such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi. These platforms provide a foundation for building your robot and offer ample online resources and community support.
- Identify Components: Make a list of components you’ll need, such as microcontrollers, motor drivers, sensors (e.g., ultrasonic, infrared), actuators (e.g., motors, servos), wheels, and a chassis for your robot.
- Gather Tools and Equipment: Collect the necessary tools and equipment, including a soldering iron, solder, wire cutters, screwdrivers, and a breadboard for prototyping.
- Assemble the Robot: Follow the instructions provided with your chosen hardware platform to assemble the robot. Mount the microcontroller, motor drivers, and other components on the chassis, and connect them using jumper wires.
- Write and Upload Code: Use open source software tools, such as the Arduino IDE or Python for Raspberry Pi, to write and upload code to your microcontroller. Start with simple programs for basic functions and gradually add complexity.
- Test and Debug: Test your robot and identify any issues or bugs. Use debugging techniques, such as printing sensor values or monitoring motor movements, to troubleshoot problems.
- Iterate and Improve: Continue experimenting, iterating, and refining your robot’s design and code. Incorporate additional sensors, add more functionality, or improve the mechanical aspects based on your learning and requirements.
- Document and Share: Document your robot’s design, code, and any modifications you made along the way. Share your work with the online robotics community, forums, or social media platforms to seek feedback and inspire others.
Remember to prioritize safety during the entire process, especially when working with electrical components and tools. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions, seek guidance from experienced individuals, and maintain a safe working environment.