Robotics is the branch of engineering,that combines mechanical, electrical and computer science engineering that deals with the design, construction, theory, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.
As per Robotics Industry Association (RIA),
Robot is a re-programmable, multifunctional manipulator designed to move material, parts, tools or specialized devices through variable programmed motion for a variety of tasks.
The number of robots in the world today is approaching 1,000,000, with 50% in Japan and just 15% in US. 20 years ago, 90% of robots were used in automobile vehicles manufacturing, typically on production assembly lines doing a variety of repetitive tasks. Today only 50% are in automobile plants, with the other 50% spread out among other fields like factories, laboratories, warehouses, energy plants, hospitals, and many other industries.
Robots are used for assembling the products, handling dangerous materials, boring / repetitive tasks, High precision and high speed tasks and in hazardous environments. The number of robots used in tasks are like Space exploration, chemical spill cleanup, disarming bombs, disaster cleanup, Welding car frames, part pick and place, manufacturing parts.Electronics testing, Surgery, precision machining, spray-painting, spot welding, cutting and polishing, inspection of products, are highly increasing , and will continue to grow in future years also.
Intelligence of Robot
Robots have enough demonstrated its ability already to generate good performance in factory productivity, efficiency and quality. More than that, few “smartest” robots are not only used in manufacturing but also they are used remotely operated surgeons and even pets – like Sony’s AIBO mechanical dog.
With the rapidly increasing potential of artificial intelligence techniques, robots have extrodinarily increased their capability as flexible automation tools. Robotic technology is converging with a wide variety of complementary technologies – machine vision, force sensing (touch), speech recognition and advanced mechanics and many micromecanical technologies(MEMS). This results in exciting new levels of functionality for jobs that were never before considered practical for robots.
The introduction of robots with integrated with electromicromechanical sensors and actuator technologies in vision and touch dramatically changes the speed and efficiency of new production and delivery systems. Robots have become so accurate and precision that they can be applied where manual operations find it difficult. Semiconductor manufacturing is one example, where a consistent high level cleaning , throughput and quality cannot be achieved with humans and simple mechanization.
Envisioning the future of Robots
When plants are converted to manufacture new automobile models, thousands of millions of dollars are typically put into the facility. The focus of robotic manufacturing technology is to minimize the capital investment by increasing flexibility in production. New robot applications are being found for operations that are already automated with dedicated equipment. Robot flexibility allows those same automated operations to be performed more consistently, with inexpensive equipment and with significant cost advantages.
The biggest change in industrial robots is that they will evolve into a broader variety of structures and mechanisms. In many cases, configurations that evolve into new automation systems won’t be immediately recognizable as robots. For example, robots that automate semiconductor manufacturing already look quite different from those used in automotive plants.
We will see the day when there are more of these programmable tooling kinds of robots replacing the traditional robots that exist in the world today. There is an enormous sea change coming; the potential is significant because soon robots will offer not only improved automation in the industrial engineering fields but also providing good challenging higher opportunities to the younger engineers and designers that have never been happened before.