Simply, What is a Robot?

The robot basically does the Sense->Think->Act in a feedback loop. Fig (c) shows the robot feedback loop.

Fig (c): The robot feedback loop

Detailed block diagram of Robot

A detailed block of the robot is shown in Fig (d). You can see, the ‘Act‘ block mainly consists of actuators to move the robot joints, the ‘Sense‘ block is having many sensors to sense different parameters of the environment and the ‘Think‘ section is having microcontrollers, PC, SBC, etc for doing the computation.

The sensors are interfaced to microcontrollers and PC, the actuators are controlling by motor controller circuit which is controlling by computing unit.

Fig (d): The detailed block diagram of the robot

Example of a robot: Obstacle avoidance robot.

An obstacle avoidance robot has a distance measuring sensor in front of the robot. The sensor can be an ultrasonic distance sensor, IR sensor, etc. There are two or more motors attached on the wheels to move the robot in different directions, there is a microcontroller board called Arduino in this robot for doing computation. These sensors and motors are connected to an Arduino.
The Arduino board will process the distance information, and make decisions on whether the robot is having obstacles in front. If there is an obstacle, it will command the motors to stop and send the control commands to move back. If not, it will move forward.

  • In this robot, the Sense block is the Ultrasonic distance sensor
  • Think block is the Arduino board
  • Act block is the DC motors.

The following diagram demonstrates the Sense->Think->Act blocks in an obstacle avoidance robot. 

Fig (e): Block diagram of Obstacle avoidance robot
Fig (f): Flow chart of obstacle avoidance robot

Given below shows a hardware prototype of the obstacle avoidance robot using ultrasonic sound sensors, Arduino, and dc motors. 

Fig (g): Hardware prototype of obstacle avoidance robot

Lentin Joseph

View posts by Lentin Joseph
Roboticist | Author of 8 robotics books | TEDx speaker

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