Human life is increasingly felt easier with the discovery of various tools that can help people perform their activities.For some people, the facilities would have made him even more lazy. But for others, surely it would make it easier to do many things. In the end, people themselves who will make choices for themselves.
Science fiction movies would have us believe that robotics will soon be dominating our lives. Recent movies like I, Robot and A.I. offer exciting glimpses into a potential future where humans and robots live, but we’re still decades away from that. While giant strides in computers and miniaturization have rooted robotics into mainstream manufacturing and delivery of industrial products, there’s still a lot to learn. We need at least another generation or two before robotic engineering can make robots as common as your PCs at home and in the office.
Simply put, robotics is an allied application of computer science that is more involved in getting programmed instructions to make electro-mechanical devices called robots perform specialized tasks and accomplish results. And achieving that can include using more complex thinking computers that can interact with the environment, people and can move about to make things happen depending on their purposes.
We don’t have to search far to describe an early robotic application. Some of you may remember the jukebox. This is an excellent specimen of crude robotics where you have a mechanical arm programmed to select from an array of 45rpm records the chosen record, get to play its content and then bring it back to where the arm picked it. At home, your record changer is another example and recently CD changers likewise perform the same automated task.
What we have today?
Most robotic applications we have today are found in the manufacture and assembly of automobiles. They take the place of assembly line factory workers who perform specialized tasks, like putting rivets, attaching heavy parts, body painting, etc. In computer manufacturing, robotics also figure a lot in soldering motherboards and other delicate assembly operations. CD and DVD stamping plants have them as well. Robots have been extensively deployed in many production processes considered tedious and repetitive or menial for humans to work in.
It can be said the robotics has its first and most useful application in space and military application. Unmanned spaceships that explored the Martian landscape and went beyond Jupiter are excellent Robotic examples. The same is true with unmanned military aircrafts that perform surveillance on enemy territory.
Even in city streets, surveillance robots have made their presence useful to check buildings and locations where hostile criminal elements are hiding to pinpoint exact location before an attack or arrest is made. Hostile environments like volcanoes have been explored using robots controlled remotely to gather environmental specimens of lava soils and magmatic materials. Robots are now extensively used to explore locations and situations considered risky for human involvement.
Some hospitals are known to deploy special rolling robots that distribute and deliver prescribed medication to patients with programmed location of floors and rooms. They can even be programmed to interface with intelligent hospital elevators to reach any floor and return to the hospital pharmacy for refilling.
What to Expect in the Future
There’s no where else to go but up, so to speak. Robotics will be leveraging on the technological developments in miniaturization and computers to bring robots to the level of interaction with the environment and people to near human cognitive qualities. This, coupled with commercialization to make robots of specific domestic household benefit more affordable, should eventually make it as common as any home appliance.