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Robotics

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According to the American Heritage Dictionary, robotics is the science or study of the technology associated with the design, fabrication, theory, and application of robots. Czech writer Karel Capek introduced the word "Robot" in his play "R.U.R" (Rossuum's Universal Robots) in 1921. "Robot" in Czech comes from the word "robota", meaning "compulsory labor." The earliest ideas that could be related to the robotics of today was in 350 B.C. by the Greek mathematician Archytas of Tarentum. He created a mechanical bird he called The Pigeon. The bird was propelled by steam. While the field had been progressing and developing over time, 1956 brought the next huge innovation. Allen Newell and Herbert Simon created the Logic Theorist, a machine dubbed the first expert system. It was a computer-like system used to compute difficult math problems. As the computer developed, robotics grew. Artificial intelligence programs began to come about in 1956. Technology in the field continues to grow today. It is possible to see robotics in many places. There are robot wars on Comedy Central, and LEGOs have created a new line of robotic LEGOs. The most recent publicized robot was the Mars rover Opportunity. In general, robotics involves creating or using machines that have the power to complete a task with little to no human assistance. These tasks can be as simple as crushing and sorting cans, like in a grocery store, to a mobile robot that can detect fire and extinguish it without a remote. Robots are not always mechanical humans. They take all shapes and sizes.

Robotics requires a working knowledge of pneumatics, hydraulics, electrical wiring, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), which has to do with computers. A standard process while creating a robot will begin with the decision to use pneumatics, hydraulics, or electrical wiring to move the parts. Once a frame has been assembled the building process follows. Once everything is in working order, the PLC is added. There are inputs and outputs throughout the robot that will fire when a task has been completed, the PLC will read this and command the next task to begin. The end result should be the ability to control the robot with the push of a button. Practical uses of robotics today are generally for jobs that are too dangerous for humans or that are highly repetitive and boring. These jobs are often found in manufacturing plants, such as along the assembly lines while making cars. Dangerous jobs include the removal of toxic waste, deep sea exploration, space exploration, and mining. Robotics has also spread to the field of medicine, most specifically surgery. Operation that emphasize precision and small parts are ideal for robots. It is also possible for a doctor to perform a surgery from a different location through the use of robotic arms. Robotics plays a large part in our everyday lives and will only grow in terms of importance and use throughout society.

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