Robotics is a technology that handles robots. Robots are software controlled machines that can walk, move other machines or machine parts and can carry out certain tasks autonomously without any human intervention. Robots consist of sensors that can collect environmental data and actuators that can move machine parts (such as valves) and can interact with surrounding world and perform some tasks as directed by in-built software. Robots are mainly used for doing repetitive tasks such as tightening of screws in a machine, cleaning outdoor windows, mowing lawns, picking fruits in an orchard or packaging of manufactured goods in a factory. Robots are also used for performing tasks under challenging environments which are too risky for humans. For example, a robot can be sent inside a building in search of bombs or explosives, for finding underwater objects or in outer space expeditions. The main advantage of using robots is that being a machine, robots never become tired of doing repetitive tasks, never make mistakes, do not need any breaks and are much cheaper than human counterparts. For these reasons, robots are widely used in agriculture, manufacturing, education, mining, healthcare, military, space expeditions and scientific research.
There are two types of robots, namely, general robots and advanced robots. General robots can perform simple tasks repetitively as guided by robotics software. Advanced robots can think independently and take decisions under various circumstances. Advanced robots employ artificial intelligence software to analyse sensor data, apply pattern recognition, predictive analysis, geospatial location determination etc., so that right decision could be undertaken at right time and proper action could be initiated. Advanced robots are capable of interacting with humans, can understand voice commands, can answer questions spoken in natural languages and also can perform simple tasks such as fetching a glass of water, switching on/off lights or closing doors/windows on human command.
Simplest example of robot is electrical toaster that can switch on electricity (for heating the bread), switch off after a user-defined time interval and pops up the toasted breads for the user. Factory robots can put inventory items from containers to shelves, can paint machines or cars using a brush and also can perform welding jobs to join two machine parts together. Sophia is an artificially intelligent robot, manufactured by Hong Kong based Hanson Robotics, that can engage in independent conversation with any human being and can take part in any live TV chat show.
IRobot Roomba is a smart vacuum cleaner, manufactured by iRobot Corporation, USA, that can move to various surfaces and cleans. It can remember textures of various surfaces (such as room, garage, lawn, parking etc.,) and take appropriate cleaning procedure specific for each surface. Roomba can adopt most efficient movement for any particular floor and hence save electricity. It also has the ability to dock itself for charging.
IORT or Internet of Robotic Things is that branch of IOT that uses robots as sensing devices which can interact with surrounding world, take decisions and initiate actions based on the requirement. However, robots are costly devices and including robots in any system incurs additional cost. But there are circumstances where use of robot is essential in order to perform dangerous and risky tasks such as in deep mining operations, under-the-sea explorations, space travel or scientific experiments which may lead to accidental loss of human life.