Robots

November 24, 2012 1:27 pm

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Robots
When you think about robots you may imagine metal machines from science fiction that look a lot like people. There are already almost a million robots at work in the world. Almost none of them look like the robots in science-fiction movies.
Robots are machines. They are machines that are controlled by computers. Robots do work. You probably would not like to do the work that robots do. Some robots do jobs that are dangerous. Some robots do jobs that are boring. They just do the exact same thing over and over again. Robots that do these jobs are called industrial robots. Almost all robots in use today are industrial robots.
WHAT DO INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS LOOK LIKE?
Most industrial robots are just mechanical arms. Robot arms can bend. Some robot arms bend like an elephant’s trunk. Some robot arms can make themselves longer or shorter.
Many robot arms have parts on the end that can hold things. The parts are called grippers. They work like a human hand, but they often don’t look much like a hand. Special kinds of grippers can handle tools or move things around.
HOW DOES A ROBOT ARM MOVE?
Your muscles move your arm. Electric motors move a robot’s arm. A robot arm has joints that allow it to bend just as your arm does. Your arm has shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints. A robot arm can have as many joints as it needs to do its job.
A computer figures out how the robot’s arm and gripper should move. The computer sends signals to the electric motors.
Some robot arms have sensors. The sensors tell the computer where the arm is. The computer makes the motors move the arm if it is not in the right place.
WHAT KINDS OF JOBS DO ROBOTS DO?
Robots do things over and over in exactly the same way. The robots can move quicker than humans can, and they never get bored. Most robots are designed to do only one specific job. A different robot must be specially made for each job that needs to be done.
Many robots work in plants that make automobiles. Robot arms weld metal car parts together. They spray paint on cars. Other robots work in factories that build radios, TVs, computers, and other electronic products.
Some robots help doctors do operations. Robots help replace hips. They help doctors operate on eyes.
Some robots handle chemicals that are dangerous for humans to touch. Some robots go to dangerous places. Robots can go deep underwater to search for sunken ships or look for minerals to mine. Robots can go into active volcanoes.
Robots help explore Mars and other planets. They find out what the planets look like and what they are made of. Robot rovers that look like little wagons landed on the planet Mars. They rolled around and examined the rocks and soil.
WILL ROBOTS EVER BE LIKE HUMANS?
Scientists and engineers are working to make better robots. They are trying to make robots with computers that are smarter. They are trying to make robot legs that walk. It is very hard to make a machine that can walk on two legs the way you can.
One day there will be robots that make highways and build steel skyscrapers. Inventors are starting to make robots for use at home to clean carpets and mow lawns. There may someday be robots that help with many chores around the house.
Tiny robots may one day be able to go into clogged blood vessels and clean them out. Tiny robots may be able to go inside broken machines and fix them. Very smart robots may eventually be able to run a whole factory by themselves.
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