Growing up we all had ideas of what the future would look like. The Jetsons got it right with the video calls but missed the mark with flying cars. Also Roomba’s aren’t quite the robotic maid we saw with Rosie that we all want (and need). Another childhood favorite depiction of the future was with Doc and Marty, who totally predicted the 90’s throwback style but sadly were ahead of their time with hoverboards.
There’s so much to unpack with the word robotics, and much of that is wrapped in pop culture and futuristic ideas of android-esq mechanical helpers. The thing is, we have a lot of that already in our world and readily available, but it is hard to recognize because it does not look like R2D2 or a fancy robotic arm.
Let’s take a look at the basic function of robotics so that you can recognize instances of it in our everyday world.
What is Robotics Exactly?
Robotics is combining energies and mechanisms under the control of a computer program. A simple mechanism, for instance a conveyor belt can become robotic when movement is applied via some form of energy (electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, or mechanical) and feedback is used to control the movement through the addition of sensors and control logic. The resulting automated system is now able to produce useful work without human intervention and is therefore a robot.
What does Robotics Look Like?
Many times we have the picture in our head of robotic arms or androids that have complex optics, sensors, mechanics, algorithms, and artificial intelligence that help us share the workload. However with the definition of robotics systems as combining mechanisms and energies under the control of a computer program, we start to see robotics in simpler forms.
This could be a mechanical device actuated by electronic motors and controlled by a micro controller that feeds a widget into a production line, removing a human from a tedious, dangerous, or less than ideal position. In this scenario a robotic arm could be used, but oftentimes it is an overly-complicated and expensive approach when a simpler form of robotics (mechanism + energy controlled by a computer) that will complete the task.
Practical Application of Robotic Systems
This brings robotics to an approachable level for businesses to take advantage of in their workflows. The key is to look at the workflow as a whole and find the bottlenecks. That is when simple mechanical solutions solve the problem, only turning into more complex systems that we see with robotics arms, advanced optics, etc. when it is needed.
Robotics in 2022
This is exactly the approach our team takes to robotic solutions so that more businesses can take advantage of automated processes when they have bottlenecks in their workflows. With inflation and rising labor, these robotic solutions may be the answer your company is needing in the new year.