Robots are essentially a mix of mechanical parts or hardware and a module that controls the movements often by using a microcontroller. The software program in the microcontroller directs and controls the robot movements.
Here are some of them types of robot hardware:
1) Motor â€“ The motor is the part that translates the programs into action. A robot can make use of many motors to properly coordinate its movement. They are of course, controlled by the robotâ€™s â€œbrainâ€. Motors have to be properly coordinated in order to ensure the smoothness of motion and the accuracy of the movement. This is often a difficult task to do with precision, as robot has to have the right amount of force applied by the motor.
2) Sensors â€“ If the motors translate programming into motion, sensors translate various stimuli in the environment into codes that the programming of the robot can understand. This type of hardware allows the robot to interact with its environment. Here are some types of sensors:
a) Light sensors â€“ These sensors are often used to detect motion and objects in a robotâ€™s path. This allows the robot to react to various objects that it can scan from a distance. It can also allow the robot to react to various changes in light. Light sensors also used on some robots to control them via infra-red.
b) Sound sensors â€“ This allows robots to track down anything that makes a sound. This hardware also allows robots to follow sound commands. The sound sensors also sometimes take the place of light sensors through the use of sonar detection. Sound sensors are often used in home-type robot pets which interact with people who are using various commands.
c) Touch/pressure sensor â€“ these sensors allows the robot to â€œfeelâ€. This helps in moderating the amount of force that a robot applies. This can be especially useful if a robot is used to pick up and move fragile objects. Through the use of pressure sensors, a robot can perform the job with the right amount of caution. Touch sensors are also used in various â€œpetâ€ robots to promote interaction with the owner. Most household robots today can react to petting and holding by the owner.
3) The control module â€“ For simple robots, the control module is done with a transistor based control unit. This control unit, will take one or more inputs, for example from a sound sensor, and translate this stimulus into actions, for example stop when a sound is detected. Although this can be very easy to put together a transistor based control module, their behaviour can not be changed easily. For more complex situations a microcontroller is used as the robotâ€™s heart and brain. Microcontrollers are also referred as the Central processing unit, or CPU. This piece of hardware takes care of possessing the various stimuli gathered by the sensors about its surroundings and turns those stimuli into reactions based on its programming. This is probably the most essential part of the robot since the programming determines the nature of the robot, and that can be changed by replacing the control program in the robot memory.