The hardware used to control robotic systems can also be likened to human body parts.

The human body is considered to be made up of five main physical components: a body, muscle system, sensory system, power source and brain system. The physical components of a robot resemble that of a human (see Figure 14.26.)

Robot sensors receive signals from the environment and pass them to the controller. In humans, our eyes act as sensors, collecting signals from our environment and passing these signals to our brain.

The robot controller processes signals from sensors into output signals which enable movement or some other event to take place. Our brain processes signals received from our eyes and sends messages to drive particular body parts. For example, when we see a step in front of us the brain sends a message to lift the leg to climb the step.

Robotics Task 6

Create a Mahara page and answer the following questions. Add your page in your collection "Robotics"

  1. Explain the term "degrees of freedom".
  2. Identify three types of hardware devices that are important in controlling robots.
  3. List the main components of a robotics system and describe the function of each.
  4. Research one type of end effector used by robots. In your reseach include:
  • the name of the end effector
  • a picture or diagram
  • an explanation of the task it performs
  • a poster or digital presentation on the findings of your research

 Note: This task is due on Week 6


End Effectors

A robotic arm can only be fitted with one type of end effector at a time. If the end effector on the arm needs to be changed, then the robot would need a new set of commands or program instructions to operate it.

For example, it is not possible to replace a gripper with a screwdriver head and expect the robot to perform the same task. It would be necessary to change the programming of the robot controller and use a different set of end effector motors to drive it.

Actuators and Effectors

In a robot, these output signals are sent to actuators to tell them to carry out some action, such as switching a motor on or off, opening or closing a valve, moving an arm to a specified point or avoiding bumping into an object.

Actuators are output devices, such as motors and end effectors, which convert energy and signals to motion.

End effectors are particular types of actuators or output devices for robots and are connected to the end of a robot arm. Different types of end effectors exist, and all perform a physical task. End effectors may be tools, vacuum grippers or magnetic grippers; all of which possess a specific set of commands.

Human Body vs Computer-Controlled Systems

Types of end effectors

Magnetic Gripper

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