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 Robotics School Report Information

I've created this page because I get a TON of email from people doing school reports about robotics. Most say "HURRY MY REPORT IS DUE TOMORROW!!!". So, use this information to give your assignment a jump start and spread the excitement about robots!

Build your own robot!

Resources:
    Tons of Robot Links
    The Robot Menu where people show off their creations
    Robotic Workcell
    Trilobot Mobile Research Robot
    ARobot Kit for Experimenters and Educators
    Robot Building for Dummies
    See our Mechanical Parts Source List
    See our Surplus Electronic Parts Source List


This page was created by Roger Arrick so you can get your homework done!
If this page helped you, please email me at info@robotics.com
READ THIS FIRST
Teachers know about this page. If you copy it word-for-word then you will get a ZERO.
Copying is plagiarism
So, read the information, write it in your own words, and get an A+

What Is Robotics?
The word "robot' was coined by Karel Capek who wrote a play entitled "R.U.R." or "Rossum's Universal Robots" back in 1921. The base for this word comes from the Czech word 'robota' or 'robotnik' which means work, forced labor, servitude, or drudgery. In his play, machines modeled after humans had great power but without common human failings. In the end these machines were used for war and eventually turned against their human creators.

But even before that the Greeks made movable statues that were the beginnings of what we would call robots.

For the most part, the word "Robot" today means any man-made machine that can perform work or other actions normally performed by humans.

What Do Robots Do?
Most robots today are used in factories to build products such as cars and electronics. Others are used to explore underwater and even on other planets.

What Are Robots Made Of?
Robots have 3 main components:

  • Brain - usually a computer
  • Actuators and mechanical parts - motors, pistons, grippers, wheels, gears
  • Sensors - vision, sound, temperature, motion, light, touch, etc.

With these three components, robots can interact and affect their environment to become useful.

The Impact Of Robotics On Society
Since robots are used mainly in manufacturing, we see their impact in the products we use every day. Ususally this results in a cheaper product. Robots are also used in cases where it can do a better job than a human such as surgery where high precision is a benefit. And, robots are used in exploration in dangerous places such as in volcanos which allows us to learn without endangering ourselves.

Problems With Robotics
Yes there are problems. As with any machine, robots can break and even cause disaster. They are powerful machines that we allow to control certain things. When something goes wrong, terrible things can happen. Luckily, this is rare because robotic systems are designed with many safety features that limit the harm they can do.

There's also the problem of evil people using robots for evil purposes. This is true today with other forms of technology such as weapons, and biological material.

Of course, robots could be used in future wars. This could be good or bad. If humans perform their agressive acts by sending machines out to fight other machines, that would be better than sending humans out to fight other humans. Teams of robots could be used to defend a country against attacks while limiting human casualties. Could future wars really just be a video game that drives robots? Either way, human nature is the flawed component that's here to stay.

Advantages Of Robotics
The advantages are obvious - robots can do things we humans just don't want to do, and usually do it cheaper. Also, robots can do unsafe jobs like monitor a nuclear power plant or explore a volcano. Robots can do things more percise than humans and allow progress in medical science and other useful advances. Robots are especially good at boring, repetitive tasks such as making circuit boards or dispensing glue on parts.

Job Displacement
Some people are concerned that robots will reduce the number of jobs and kick people out of their jobs. This is almost never the case with new technology. The net affect of advanced technology such as robots (or cars, electric drills, copying machines) is that humans become more productive.

3 Laws Of Robotics
Popular science fiction writer Isaac Asimov created the Three Laws of Robotics:

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

    #2 A robot must always obey orders given to it by a human being, except where it would conflict with the first law.

    #3 A robot must protect it's own existence, except where it would conflict with the first or second law.

The Future Of Robotics
The population of robots is growing rapidly. This growth is lead by Japan that has almost twice as many robots as the USA. All estimates suggest that robots will play an ever-increasing role in modern society. They will continue to be used in tasks where danger, repetition, cost, and precision prevents humans from performing.

Copyright (c) 2003 Roger Arrick

Reader Responses

Laura wrote:
You're a legend mate! Your page saved my a** majorly! I did my whole assignment in one night. Every single question was in your info! Thanks!

HomeyDrgon wrote:
Frankly, your site and links is flippin rad!!

KBAFLUNKY wrote:
I can't thank you enough for the homework site. If my english teacher ever found out it was this easy to get research he'd probably pass out. Thanks again. Keep up the good work.

Peaches wrote:
The info on you're page was to hard to understand please send basic info A.S.A.P.

Eric S. wrote:
I want to thank you because I see you only have a few thank you's and I am sure many more people use it than are posted. At any rate, I was certainly given a good education on your entire site, not just the student help part, but that was most informative for my needs. I really hit gold when I clicked into your site. Thanks.

Tim E. Wrote:
Hi Roger. Thanks for your info. You've really saved my bacon, although the homework doesn't have to be in until next week. Pity you couldn't publish it in my handwriting! All the best.

Gerard M. Wrote:
Title: Thanx alot, you really saved our bu**!
We are in 8th grade and working on science fair and we really needed that info. And you said if your site helps us we should e-mail you and that is what i am doing right now. Well we really want to thank you alot and I hope we get a good grade. Thanx again.

Sandy Wrote:
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Concise, basic, compiled information is a basic tool for enjoying the learning process. Tracking it down is not. The time you have spent on the homework page, makes all the difference. I thank you again. Your insight into the needs of the general public is greatly appreciated.

Lisa Wrote:
I am a middle school teacher in MA. I usually read a novel with my students every year called "Freak the Mighty." A character in the novel has a great interest in robots. I usually have my students do some research on robots to help them understand what the character is talking about. Unfortunately, when the reports come in they are a mirror image of your "school report." Though I think what you have written is great information, I wish that somewhere on your site you would stress that kids need to formulate their own ideas in writing. Copying information is plagiarism. I usually copy your article and attach it to my students papers with a big fat Zero for a grade. Because your site is a terrific place for kids to begin, I wouldn't want them to miss it but if you could just add a note about how to use what they read, I would greatly appreciate it.


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