What are the 8 critical components of a robot?
When someone asks me what the most critical component of a robot is, I say it's the robot itself. But that's not really an answer, is it? In all seriousness, there are many different parts to a robot: actuators, batteries, brains, and so on. All those components work together to create something more significant than the sum of its parts—a machine capable of doing things we can't even imagine. So let's take a closer look at each component and see how they fit together into one mind-blowing machine.
1st component of a robot: Actuators
Actuators are the motors that power a robot. Actuators are what make the robot move and work, so they're an essential robot component. They can be powered by electricity, hydraulics, or compressed air. Most robots have more than one actuator depending on their needs.
The type of actuator used depends on the task that the robot needs to do. For example, if you want your robot to be able to spin around in circles very quickly, then you would use a DC motor.
If you wanted your robot to move its arm up and down repeatedly, then you would use a servo motor. And if you wanted your robot to be able to precisely position itself over and over again, then you would use a stepper motor or brushless motor
Here are some other types of actuators that are popular components of a robot:
Hydraulic actuators use high-pressure fluids to power pistons or cylinders that move the robot's joints or limbs. They're used in many industrial robots, but they're not practical for home-use robots because they require expensive components and maintenance processes.
Pneumatic actuators use pressurized air to power pistons or cylinders that move the robot's joints or limbs. They're often used in smaller robots because they don't require as much energy as hydraulic actuators (which means they can be made smaller).
Electric actuators use electricity to power motors that move the robot's joints or limbs. The electricity can come from batteries on board the robot itself, or it can be drawn from an external source such as a wall outlet or car charger.
2nd component of a robot: Batteries
Batteries are critical components of a robot. They supply the power source that makes it possible for robots to move and perform tasks. It's important to understand that there are different types of robot batteries, so you can make sure you're using the right one.
The battery is the heart of any robot, so it is critical that you select the right type for your needs. Here are some tips and pointers on what type of battery will work best for your project.
The first thing to understand is that there are two main types of robot batteries: primary (disposable) and secondary (rechargeable). Primary batteries like alkaline and lithium are only good for one use, while secondary batteries like lead-acid, nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), and lithium-ion can be recharged by applying an electric current.
Primary batteries are commonly used for small robots that do not require much energy to operate; for example, the battery might power a toy car or remote-controlled boat. Secondary batteries are more common in larger robots that need more energy; for example, they might power a robotic vacuum cleaner or forklift.
3rd component of a robot: Brain
The brain is the most crucial robots component. Without it, the robot would not be able to do anything. It makes a robot smart and gives it the ability to recognize surroundings and make decisions about how to act in certain situations. The brain powers everything in your robot's body, including its limbs and sensors.
Microprocessors are like the brains of robots! They give robots their intelligence and allow them to be autonomous, which means that robots don't have to rely on humans for information or commands.
Microprocessors are at the heart of every robot and are an essential part of what makes a robot work. They are used in all kinds of applications, from self-driving cars to tiny little toys for kids. The microprocessor is also responsible for controlling lights and sounds, allowing the robot to communicate with its environment and talk back to us.
Microprocessors come in many different shapes and sizes depending on what kind of job they need to do. One popular type called an Arduino uses a chip called an Atmel AVR which can be programmed using software called Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Another popular type is called Raspberry Pi which uses Linux as its operating system so it can run various programs such as Python or NodeJS.
4th component of a robot: Communication
Communication is another essential component of a robot. It allows you to connect to the robot, program its actions, and control it from a distance. There are several types of communication:
Cables transfer data between two devices at a physical level, such as USB cables or network cables. They are usually used for creating connections between computers, peripherals, and other devices.
Bluetooth - This short-range wireless protocol uses radio waves to connect devices. It's very fast and lets you connect to many different devices simultaneously.
WiFi - WiFi is similar to Bluetooth, but it uses radio waves instead of infrared light for communication. It also lets you connect multiple devices at once, but it has a longer range than Bluetooth (about 300 feet).
Infrared - Infrared is another short-range method of communication that uses light waves instead of radio waves or sound waves (like sound waves).
5th component of a robot: Drive Train
The drive train is the robots component that makes it move, and it can be one of several different types.
A chain drive is a good choice for robots that need to move over uneven terrain or in environments where there are obstacles in the way. The chain can wrap around objects that might be in its path and keep moving forward if necessary, but it will still allow the robot to turn easily.
A wheeled drive train is also popular because it's simple to use and easy to get started on. Wheels are also helpful if you need to move your robot over long distances or over rough terrain.
There are many other types of drive trains available depending on your needs, but these two options are among the most popular choices for warehouses and other industrial settings where the environment can be challenging for a robot's movement capabilities.
6th component of a robot: End Effectors
While the body is typically the most visible part of a robot, end effectors are arguably one of the most important robots components. They are what allow robots to interact with their environment. For example, if you want a robot to pick up an object and move it somewhere else (assuming that its hands can move), then you need an end effector to do this task for you. There are many different types of end effectors:
Hands: A hand can grasp objects and move them around. It's great for picking up small things like pens or cups!
Grippers: A gripper has multiple fingers that can be opened or closed in order to grasp objects more firmly than just one finger would allow. This helps when lifting heavy things like boxes or rocks out of holes in the dirt (and maybe even moving them into other holes too).
Suction cup: A suction cup sticks itself onto surfaces so it doesn't fall off when holding heavy items (like those earlier-mentioned rocks). You might have seen these being used on vacuum cleaners before!
7th component of a robot: Sensors
Sensors are the eyes and ears of any robot type, collecting data through sight, sound, touch, and/or smell. They are used to detect objects in their vicinity and determine their location. They can also be used to identify people or other robots nearby. There are several different types of sensors you could choose from when building your own bot:
A GPS sensor is a good example of this. The GPS sensor allows the robot to understand its location on Earth, so it can move around without bumping into things or getting lost.
Laser range finders allow your bot's computer system to keep track of how far away objects are so that it knows how much force needs to be applied when moving them around (and whether or not something is within reach!)
Ultrasound sensors are another good example. These sensors can detect objects in their path by sending out sound waves and measuring how long it takes for them to bounce back. This information helps the robot know when there's something nearby that could cause damage or injury if hit with its arm or leg.
Sensors are also critical components of a robot. Without them, the robot would not know how to act or react to its environment.
8th component of a robot: Program
A robotic’s program isn’t a physical component. However, it’s nevertheless a critical part of the whole. Each of the simple components of robots we’ve checked out takes in stimuli or gives feedback. The software inside a robotic gives the common sense that drives those behaviors.
When you think about it, a program is like the spirit of a robot. It's what gives them their personality and their unique voice. It makes them who they are and allows them to do what they do.
But unlike humans, robots don't have free will. They don't make decisions on their own—that's what programming is for! A program decides how a robot will behave in given circumstances.
And if you've ever had a pet that seemed to have its own mind (and maybe even some quirks), it's because they were just programmed differently than other pets. Some pets are shy and quiet, others are outgoing and playful—it all depends on the program that was installed in them when they were first made.
So next time you're feeling down about your robot's behavior or attitude, remember: It's not really its fault! It just needs some new programming!
In the end, we've learned that a robot is more than just a collection of parts. The sum of these parts is greater than any single component. Without these robots components working together in tandem, we wouldn't have a robot—just pieces of metal and plastic. It's when they come together that we get something more significant than the sum of its parts: a machine capable of doing things we can't even imagine!
Author's suggestions to read more: 10 critical components of an autonomous robots.