ITGS Syllabus

Monday, November 06, 2006

Topic 169

key terms—robot, android, cyborg, sensors by Matthew Wilder

Robot, as defined by International Standard ISO 8373, is an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose, manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications. Robots in the modern world come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are used for a myriad of applications.
Robots are most commonly used in the industrial world. An example of a robot in the industrial world is the KUKA. The KUKA, which resembles an arm, is used in the production of cars. KUKAs are equipped with an assortment of tools that allow them to paint, weld, and assemble cars. Robots, like the Kuka, are useful in industry because industrial tasks can be accurately defined and must be performed the same every time. Furthermore, industrial robots can do some tasks better than a human could ever do (i.e. lift heavy materials).
Although robots are mainly used in industry, they are beginning to appear in other environments. One such environment is the battlefield. As of last year, the U.S. military has been regularly deploying Foster Miller TALONs to the dangerous roads of Baghdad. The TALONs are used to defuse roadside bombs or IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in an operation called EOD (explosive ordinance disposal). Robots are an ideal solution in this scenario because sending a soldier to do the same job would risk human life. Robots are beginning to enter the household as well. In 2002, iRobot Corporation launched Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner. By 2004, over a million Roombas were sold.


An android is a robot made to resemble a human, usually both in appearance and manner. The word android, first coined by French writer Villiers in his novel, L’Eve future, is mainly used in science fiction novels and movies. Some popular androids in the sci-fi world are Data from Star Trek, the Terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mega Man from the game Mega Man, and Cell from Dragon Ball Z. Recently, however, androids have begun to make appearances in the real world. One such example of a real android is EveR-1, created by a team of scientists from the Korean Institute for Industrial Technology. EveR-1 is capable of emulating human emotions and having basic conversations (the robot has a vocabulary of four hundred words).


According to the Encyclopedia of American History, cyborg is short for cybernetic organism, which is the melding of man and machine and ranges in scope from creating computers that have human attributes, such as independent thinking or the ability to learn, to the artificial heart, pacemaker, and a variety of synthetic implants.


A sensor is a transducer, a device that converts one type of energy to another for various purposes including measurement or information transfer. In a broader sense, a sensor is sometimes defined as any device that converts a signal from one form to another. Sensors are used in everyday life. An example of a sensor is a magnetic sensor, or a compass. Another example is the thermometer.


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