Robotics & Robot Programming (PDF)

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Seminar Paper


Supervised by: Mrs. Adebiyi .B

July 2016

Robotics is a very interesting, complex and wide area of study in technology that incorporates
almost all aspects of technology. These aspects include mechanical engineering, electrical
engineering, Computer Science, electronic, sensors, actuators and artificial Intelligence. This
seminar paper contains an intermediate level study of Robotics & Robot programming.
Basically, a general knowledge of the concepts that make up a robot.
This paper explains, the basic components of the simplest device that be referred to as a robot.
These components include: Body/Frame, Mechanics, Electronics and Control Logic. As a result
of the need to solve more problems in different fields and professions, the demand and need for
Robots with special different specifications increased whilst resulting into the creation of these
mechanical tools with specifications. However, robots have proven to be efficient in so many
fields and professions. In this paper, we will discuss the simplest components and functionalities
of a robot, and how they are instructed to perform different tasks.

Robotics is a very wide aspect of technology that takes its scope from different aspects of
Science and Technology. As a result of its complexity, it is not well sought after as much as
other technologies like, web applications, mobile applications, desktop applications etc.
Robotics is a scope of Science and Technology that involves the development of Robots. A
Robot is a programmable mechanical device, which has the ability to interact with its
Going back in time, there were robots spanning the spectrum from the androids of West world,
the flailing robot from the original Lost in Space television series, or the stumpy repair robots
from Silent Running. But why stop in the 1950s? Going back even further, we see mechanical
servants in films as early as 1909 in the British film “The Electric Servant”, or the Turk-like
humbug in “The Wizard of Oz from 1939”?
Robotic activities have similarities with human activities and this is because they (robots) are
modelled and developed to solve complex and or dangerous human problems. Hence, in cases
where some tasks were difficult for humans to perform, robots are created to do them in a faster
and more efficient way.
As robots consists majorly of mechanical attachments, they have to be instructed to perform the
expected tasks. This act is referred to as Robot Programming. Programming languages are used
to instruct the robot to move in various sequences, with a particular speed to solve specific
As simple as can be, this seminar paper contains a great wealth of introductory knowledge for
whoever has a striking interest in Robotics.

As robotics is not a new study in the field of technology, there have been several thesis on
Robots and Robotic system. This paper contains thesis from RobotShop, McGrawhill Companies
and unavoidably, web forums and documentations to mention a few.
Robotics currently represents one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments and is the single
greatest attempt of mankind to produce an artificial sentient being. It is only in recent years that
manufacturers are making robotics increasingly available and attainable to the general public.
According to RobotShop’s documentation on History of Robotics, Automatons (human like
figures) are run by hidden mechanism, were used to impress peasant worshippers in church into
believing in a higher power. These mechanisms created illusions of self-motion. The clock jack
was a mechanical figure that could strike time on a bell with its axe. This technology was
virtually unheard of in the 13th century.
In 1954 George Devol designed the first truly programmable robot and called it UNIMATE, for
Universal Automation. Later, in 1956, George Devol and Joseph Engelberger formed the world’s
first robot company, Unimation which stands for Universal Automation. As a result, Engelberger
has been called the “father of robotics”. Unimation is still in production today, with robots for
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority in their publication (Principles, Components and
functions of a Robot) defines a robot as “a reprogrammable multifunction manipulator designed
to move materials, parts tools or specialized devices through variable programmed motions for
the performance of variety of tasks”. Robots are controlled and manipulated by programmable
controllers known as PLC (Programmable Logic controllers or Microcontrollers).
In Fundamentals of Robotics by The Goodheart Willcox Co. Inc, a striking article explains the
three different ways of power supply in a robot and one means of programming them. Basically,
the power supply provides the energy to drive the controller and actuators. It may convert AC
voltage to DC voltage required by the robot circuits, or it may be a pump or compressor
providing hydraulic or pneumatic power. The three basic types of power supplies are electrical,

hydraulic and pneumatic. The most common type used is electricity, the next most commonly
used is the compressed air, and the least commonly used is the hydraulic. These primary sources
of energy must be converted into the form and amount required by the type of robot being used.
The electronic part of the control unit and any electric drive actuator requires electric power. A
robot containing hydraulic drive actuators requires a conversion of electrical power to hydraulic
energy through the use of an electric motor-driven, hydraulic pump. A robot with pneumatic
actuator requires compressed air which is usually supplied by a compressor driven by an electric
Also, the book explains a traditional way of programming robots called the teach-pendant
method. This method teaches a robot the movements required to perform a useful task. The
operator uses a teach-pendant to move the robot through the series of points that describe his
desired paths. The points are recorded by the controller for later use. This subject is also referred
to in the Industrial robot section.
RobotShop Inc. provides a documentation that shows a reasonable timeline of robotic
development. Below is a timeline of scientific development and improvement in robotics from
1990 – 2005.
1990 – iRobot corporation was founded by Rodney Brooks, Colin Angle and Helen Greiner and
produced domestic and military robots.
1993 – Dante explored Mt.Ereburus in Antarctica. The 8-legged walking robot was developed at
Carnegie-Mellon University. However, the mission failed when its tether broke. Dante II
subsequently explored Mt.Spurr in Alaska in 2004. This was a more robust version of Dante I.
1996 – Honda created the P2, which was the first major step in creating their ASIMO. The P2
was first self-regulating, bipedal humanoid robot.
1997 – NASA’s PathFinder landed on Mars. The wheeled robotic rover sent images and data
about Mars back to Earth.
1997 – IBM’s deep blue supercomputer beat the champion Gary Kasparov at a chess match. This
represented the first time a machine beat a grand champion chess player.
1997 – Dr. Cynthia created Kismet, a robotic creature that interacted emotionally with people.

1998 – LEGO released their MINDSTORMS robotic development product line, which is a
system for inventing robots using a modular design and LEGO plastic bricks.
1998 – Campbell Aird was fitted with the first bionic arm called the Edinburg Modular Arm
System (EMAS).
1999 – Mitsubishi created a robot fish. The intention was to create a robotic version of extinct
species of fish.
1999 – Personal Robots released the Cye robot. It performed a variety of household chores, such
as delivering mail, carrying dishes, and vacuuming. It was created by Probotics Inc.
2000 – iRobot Packbots searched through rubbles of the world trade center. Subsequent versions
of the Packbot robots are used in Afghanistan and Iraq.
2001 – MD Robotics of Canada built the Space Station Remote Manipulator system (SSRMS). It
was successfully launched and worked to assemble the international Space Station.
2003 – As part of their mission to explore Mars, NASA launched twin robotic rovers on June 10
and July 7, 2003 called Spirit and Sojourner.
2003 – RobotShop Distribution Inc. was founded to provide today’s society with domestic and
professional robot technology that can help increase the pleasure, knowledge liberty and security
of individuals.
2005 – The Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), created HUBO, and claims it is
the smartest mobile robot in the world. This robot is linked to a computer via a high-speed
wireless connection; the computer does all the thinking for the robot.
2005 – Cornell University created self-replicating robots.

Karel Capek used the word Robot in his 1921 play Rossums Universal Robots derived from the
word robota meaning “forced labor”. These robots were created to replace human in their
simplified form, as cheap labor.
Automata and Animatronics
Automata is a Greek word that is translated in English as “Moving itself”.
An automaton is a device that has the ability to move under its own power. The mechanism of
the motion is usually hidden and is usually thought to be self- motivated. Humans have been
long fascinated by the workings of their own body and the animals around us. With this
fascination has come the urge to recreate these things to step in the role of divinity and try our
life at the game of life.
The ancient Greeks, at around 400BC and continuing on into the common era, are reputed to
have used steam and water power to animate statues or drive various mechanism in their temples.
Automatically opening doors, statues that appear to drink offering of wine, singing bird, selflighting fires and so much more.
Some wild stories explains about an iron fly and an artificial eagle made of wood, constructed by
Johannes Muller in the 1470s. In the 14th and 15th centuries, automata were the playthings of
royalty. Leonardo da Vinci made an animated lion for King Louis XII, Gianello della Tour of
Cremona built a number of mechanical entertainers for Emperor Charles V, and Christian
Huygens creates a robotic army sometime around 1680.
The first documented automaton in human form, or android, was made by Hans Bullman in the
early sixteenth century. Androids have been a popular subject for automata builders ever since.
Inventors built machines to play musical instruments of all kinds to draw, write and even play
chess or at least pretend to play chess.
The Turk was a famous automaton from this time. Built in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kepelen, and
later purchased from Kepelen’s son by Johan Nepomuk Maelzel in 1804, the Turk was known
for entertaining audiences by playing chess. Napoleon, Charles Babbage took turns against this

machine but it all ended up that this machine could not play the game of chess at all. Instead, it
provided a cramped quarters for human chess player who in turn ran the machinery that made the
Turk move.
By the time the Turk was on tour, audiences were familiar with the workings of automata and
had been exposed to many fine machines. But they were confident that these machines were just
that, simple collections of gears and levers whose rote actions were no challenge to the human
intellect. The automata may appear to be alive, but they are only vague shadows of life. They
could not THINK.
In the nineteenth century, improved manufacturing brought simple automata to the masses,
typically in form of toys, fancy clocks and other novelties. Clockwork mechanical toys were
popular well into the twentieth century. Today the springs, gears, and cams in toys have been
replaced by tiny motors and electronic controls. The skills and techniques developed by the
automata makers during the Renaissance provided a foundation for the industrial revolution that
followed. Today, you can still find automata for sale. Automata are now in the domain of the
artist and pieces from modern craftsmen and artists can be found for as little as a few dollars, up
to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Robots grew and developed to be very essential entities in the manufacture of products. Ever
since the advent of factories during the industrial revolution, specialized machines have had an
important role in creating the products of civilization. The most common machine was the
underpaid, overworked citizen men, women and children. Early factory conditions were
dangerous but wages were good so nobody could argue with the efficiency factories brought. For
example, you don’t normally think about it, but there is a complex machine whose only purpose
is to bend wire into paper clips. Other machines perform other tasks. These machines, invaluable
as they are for industry, are still forms of Automata.
Factory Automaton or AUTOMATA starts to become Robots when they get the ability to be
programmed. Still, there is an itch, take that bottle-making machine and add a bunch of controls
to it so it can make bottles of different sizes, from different points and different types of shapes.

Does this make it a Robot or is it still an Automata? Does it make any difference if the controls
are mechanical levers and knobs or electric circuits?
In the early factories, working alongside a machine made your job more dangerous even if it
made it less arduous. These early machines were large assemblies of spinning, whirring, moving
parts that continued to spin, whir and move even if a finger, foot, or other body part intruded into
it. Even today, people working with machines in factories and food-processing plants face risks.
Machine are designed to be as safe as possible, but there are limits to what can be done to a
metal sheer or punch press, for example, and have it remain useful.
As machines improved into robots, they made some aspects of factory work safer. A robotic
painter, spot welder, or assembly machine can operate in an empty space without any help at all.
A supervisor stands safely outside its range of motion while the robot does the dirty and
dangerous work.
Below is the picture of a ROBOT arm used in the early factories to weld parts of metals
together in a specific sequence. This robot make the work a lot more efficient by reducing the
time it will take to reach a limit manually, and the risk involved with welding.

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