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Lil Miquela — Instagram Influencer (Internet Image)

Robotics — A Large and Influential field of Technology

Robots are not more confined to manufacturing plants but becoming part of our everyday life

Just imagine what comes to your mind first when you hear the word — ROBOTS! let me help, some of the thoughts would be:

  • A dancing Robot
  • Sci-fi hollywood action movies like Terminator
  • Lil Miquela (see photo), the Instagram Influencer
    (you too thought she is real…welcome to the club)

Well, the very first thought would be, thanks to the science fiction action movies:

ROBOTS=DANGER

In reality, we all know that Robots are nothing but machines which are programmed to perform certain tasks to reduce human effort.

Robotics is basically an engineering discipline responsible for designing and construction of robots.

The term Robot comes from Czech word Robota meaning “work”.

ROBOTICS — Past, Present & Future

Robots are machines which can take over complex tasks to carry out automatically.

The evolution of the field of Robotics from one-task machines to dancing robots is a wonder in itself.

Before we dive into the technology, it’s interesting to briefly look at the history, current status and future of robots.

PAST

Automation and mechanical engineering began taking shape in 17th century which led to the foundation of robotics.

The word Robot though was first used in 1921 by a Czech writer named Karel Capek.

In 1942, the related term “Robotics” invented by another science fiction writer and a professor of Biochemistry Isaac Asimov.

Asimov has written many books on robots (remember the film I:Robot, which was loosely based on Asimov books).

Asimov ismore famous though for his 3 laws of Robotics-

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

PRESENT

Asimov 3 laws of robotics were devised in 1940s where he somehow envisioned a world of robots and humans living together.

Though the laws could be used as a foundation but in last 80 years with significant advancements to the world of technology and innovation, the laws needs to be updated.

Especially while Artificial Intelligence and advanced Automation are playing a major role in the field of Robotics.

Therefore there are other governing principles which are taking into consideration AI inclusion to robotics.

Most of the discussions are around AI ethics, seamless machine-human interactions and active participation of society.

FUTURE

Looking at the fast pace of innovation going on in the field of robotics and role of other related technologies like AI, it can be predicted that robots will play a significant role into our lives.

Example — Personal assistants at home and chatbots in businesses

According to some of the experts, next 20–30 years will see greater change in humanity due to Robotics and AI than the last 50 years.

Robotics : Industries Robots are Commonplace

If you think that Robots are everywhere, you are probably right but if you think Robots are replacing humans at workplaces i might have to disappoint you.

Robotics is revolutionising multiple industries by boosting efficiency and productivity benefitting companies, employees and consumers.

Some industries are surely utilising Robotics more than others. Here let us look at 5 top industries having great impact due to Robotics-

1. Manufacturing

This is one of the first industry where Robotics have made its impact, since 1960s, using Industrial Robots for lowering production costs.

Since than industrial robots have evolved drastically, from one-task machines to smart robots working autonomously.

Example — Tesla Gigafactory use autonomous indoor vehicles to deliver goods inside the factory from one place to another

2. Healthcare

Seeing the nature of high-risk and delicate work, Robots entered much slower in Healthcare industry.

The potential of Robotics have been realised now in wide variety of healthcare practices, specially making advances in surgery.

Example — Intuitive’s da Vinci surgical system used by surgeons to control hand movements

3. Agriculture

Robots are being used by farmers in agriculture to do tedious tasks like weeding, spraying pesticides, harvesting etc.

Example — autonomous robots that automate operations like pruning, thinning, mowing, spraying, and weed removal

4. Mining

Mining is one of the most dangerous occupation where robotics is making some positive changes to reduce danger for human miners.

Example — A robot named UX-1 is used to navigate abondoned mines to detect rare minerals with the help of sensors

5. Warehousing

The robots are used in warehousing as people-helpers to basically navigate warehouse floor, selecting requested items and delivering to the pickers.

Example — robots are used to reduce human error on the warehouse floor with the help of automated inventory systems

Robotics and Other Emerging technologies

The future of robotics looks very exciting, especially the concept of robotics merging with other technologies like AI, IoT etc.

AI and Robotics

The combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics is very powerful.

There are more and more intelligent robots which are using AI to include advanced features which was not possible without AI.

Example — A warehousing robot using AI algorithm and a camera to navigate around the warehouse and to detect objects.

IoT and Robotics

The combination of IoT and Robotics is commonly referred as Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT).

The concept of IoRT is when devices monitor their surroundings based on sensor data to take appropriate action.

Example — An inventory robot receives information from a global network for IoT sensors to understand its surroundings better and to avoid obstacles.

Cloud and Robotics

James Kuffner a Google employee first coined the term “Cloud Robotics” referring to merger of cloud computing and robotics.

The concept of combining robotics with cloud computing is used to enable “extended brain” for robots.

Example — The data gathered by robots is stored in the cloud and used in the future to ensure productivity growth

This is interesting to see that robots are mainly taking over tasks from humans which are dangerous, tedious and could free-up time for us humans to focus on other significant tasks.

We’ll see more and more industries where robots would be working alongside humans to reduce the risks for humans in dangerous environments and reduce burden of work.

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Waseem Haider

Waseem Haider

Founder@WH Technology Consulting I Technology Analyst I Educator I Strategist I Market & Competitive Intelligence I https://www.linkedin.com/in/haiderwaseem/ I