• Robotics is the field of Science and Technology that deals with the design, manufacture, and applications of robots and using computers for their manipulation and processing.Robotics is based on the word ‘Robot’ coined by Karel (Joseph) Capek. The word Robot means self – labour. A Robot is a machine capable of carrying out complex series of actions automatically and replaces human effort, though it may or may not resemble human being in appearance or exhibit human like behaviour.


  • 1928 – 1stJapanese Robot GakuTensoku
  • 1954 – 1st truly modern robot,highly operated programmable and teachable was invented by George Devole named “UNIMATE” 1956- The phrase “Artificial Intelligence” was coined by John McCarty and Marvin
  • 1973- KUKA,            Germany manufactured 1st robot with 6 degrees of freedom named ‘Famulus’ with electronically driven axes
  • 2000- 1st humanoid robot ASIMO (Advanced step in Innovative Mobility) manufactured by Honda can walkat a speed of 6km/hr.


  • Robots can be categorised into two based on the jobs they perform.
  • Work which a robot can do better than a human being in terms of speed, accuracy and endurance. For e.g. Industrial
  • Jobs which a human can do better than a robot, but robots can free us from dangers, dull and dirty task. For e.g. Domestic robots,

2.3.1     Industrial Robots:

It is defined as an automatically controlled, re-programmable, multi- purpose, manipulator designed to move in three or more axes.Typical applications of robots include welding, painting, assembly, pick and place (such as packaging, pelletizing), product inspection and testing; all accomplished with high endurance, speed, and precision.E.g. UNIMATE and FAMULUS.

Picture of FAMULUS robot

  • Humanoid robots have human like appearance. It is an autonomous robot because it can adapt to changes in its environment by itself and continue to reach its goal. This is the main difference between the humanoid and other kind of robots like industrial robots.

The capacities of Humanoid robots include

  • Self- maintenance (it can recharge itself)
  • Autonomous learning (learn /gain new capabilities without outside assistance. Adjust strategies based on the surrounding and adapt to new situation).
  • Avoid harmful situations to people, property and Safe interaction with human being and  environment.


  • It is the humanoid robot created by Honda motor company of Japan. It resembles a small astronaut having a backpack and can walk at the speed of 6 km/hr. It was created to help people who lack full mobility and is used to encourage young people study science and mathematics

Picture of a DOMOBOT 

Picture of ASIMO

Domestic Robots

  • They are robots used for household purposes. One such highest level of domestic robot known as DOMOBOT, used for household chores is automatically connected to the wireless home network or Wi-Fi.

Personal Robots

  • A personal robot is one that enables an individual to automate the repetitive or minimal part of home or work life making them more productive. Personal robot is the one that will change the use of robots from being large, expensive, hard to use to being small, inexpensive and easy to use. Vast improvement in motion planning, computer vision, natural language processing, automated reasoning are indispensable to turn a robot like ASIMO into a universally applicable personal robot

Picture of personal robot


  • Hands of robots are called End effectors. End effector can be a gripper consisting just two fingers which can open to pick up and close to release a range of small objects.It can also be a vacuum gripper which can manipulate large electronic components like car
  • Arms are called Manipulators
  • Actuators are muscle and joints in the robot

Planning, controlling and sensing in Humanoid Robots.

  • Planning and control in robots is to focus on self-collision detection, path planning and obstacle avoidance by gathering information throughinformation    about     the surrounding  environment allowing the robot to interact with the world. Proprioceptive Sensors
  • These sensors are used to sense the position, orientation the speed of the humanoid robots


  • The field of Robotics is closely related to AI. AI refers to emulation of        intelligent behaviour by a machine. AI requires sophisticated computer to perform complex problem solving tasks that require thinking and reasoning while processing vast amount of knowledge. Intelligence is required for robots to be able to handle such tasks as object manipulation navigation with sub-problems      of  localisation,mapping and motion planning. AI is the area of computer science focussing on creating machines that can engage on behaviours that humans consider intelligent.

Automobiles and Manufacturing Industry

  • Industrial robots due to their speed, accuracy, reliability, endurance are readily used in manufacturing of cars. Tasks such as welding, spray painting, loading, material handling and assembling can be performed for better by an Industrial robot than a human.In manufacturing industry, a key factor in attaining level of productivity is today going through a new industrial revolution, benefiting from rapid progress in the areas of robotics, computers, intelligent sensors and Control


  • Pick and place of robots are used in mass production of PCBs (printed circuit board). They help to remove tiny electronic components from strips/trays and place them onto PCB’s with great accuracy. Such robots can place several components per second, far outperforming a human in terms of speed, accuracy and reliability.

Packaging Industry

  • Industrial robots are extensively used for pelletizing ad packaging of manufactured goods. For example, taking drink cartoons from the end of conveyor belt placing them rapidly into boxes

Means of Transport

  • Mobile Robots act as automated guided vehicles with scanning, lasers are used to transport goods around large facilities such as warehouses, container ports or hospitals.

Military Application

  • Tele Robots are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles which can be used to perform dangerous tasks in faraway/in accessible places. These robots can be controlled from anywhere in the world allowing any army to search terrain and fire on targets without endangering those using it. Hundreds of robots such as L- robot, PACKBOT are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan by US military to defuse roadside bomb/ improvised explosive devices. Autonomous Robots such as SEEKUR are being developed to perform security and surveillance tasks at military facilities.

Health & Medicine

  • Robots have helped us to realise remote surgery, minimum invasive surgery which uses robots in performing surgery. One such system widely used is Da Vinci surgical systems. Remote surgery/ telesurgeryis the ability of the doctor to perform surgery on a patient even though they are not physically present in the same location. It combines the elements of robotics, cutting             edge communication technology such as high speed data connections
  • Here the physical distance between surgery and patient is immaterial. It promises to allow the expertise of specialized surgery to the patient worldwide without the need for the patients to travel beyond their local hospitals.Minimal    invasive surgery avoids open invasive surgery in favour of closed/local surgery with fewer traumas.

Major advantages of Robotic surgery include:

  • Reduced blood loss which reduces the risk of needing a blood
  • Smaller incision which reduces pain and shortens recovery
  • Less pain leading to less pain medication.
  • Hospitalization time/duration of hospital stay is
  • Reduces the incidence of post- surgical complications


  • Nano-robots can be used to clear oil spill & dis-assemble pollutants especially non-biodegradable ones reducing their polluting impact.Robots can be used in nuclear plants for handling and disposal of nuclear waste materials which saves the occupational workers in the nuclear plant from potential exposure to hazardous radiations.

 Societal and Domestic functions

  • Humanoid robots can perform tasks like personal assistance where they will be able to assist the sick elderly people. For example Japanese WAKAMARU domestic robot made by Mitsubishi company in 2005
  • Certain domestic robots like ROOMBA can also free us form dirty and dull tasks by taking up simple, unwanted jobs at home like vacuum cleaning and lawn mowing.

Space Exploration

  • Autonomous robots are used in space exploration as they can perform desired tasks in unstructured environment, without continuous human guidance. Remotely operated vehicles is an unmanned spacecraft can act as Lander that makes contact with an extra- terrestrial body and operates from a stationery position or as a Rover that can more over terrain once it is landed. Robotic space crafts can acts as space probe operating in the vacuum of space and withstanding exposure to radiation and themarketingheaven extremes of temperature in addition to some planetary destinations such as Venus or vicinity of Jupiter are too hostile for human survival.

  Disaster Management

  • Autonomous robotic systems designed to explore and map abandoned mines which pose a significant threat to society. Abandoned mines have dangerous explosion of methane gas which accumulates when they are no longer ventilated. One such automatic robotic system designed to automatically explore and acquire 3-D maps of abandoned        mines       is GROUNDHOG, developed by USA.

ADVANCEMENTS IN INDIA Premier Institutes of robotics in India include

  • Centre of Robotics and Mechatronics IIT Kanpur,
  • Various IIT’s offering course in CSE with specialization in AI which is an integral part of Robotics.
  • Centre for AI and Robotics, Bangalore has developed CHATUR Robot, an intelligent robot with vision sensors which can pick up objects within its visual
  • Scientists from university of Ulster London and IIT, Kanpur have teamed up to investigate how to develop intelligent Robotic devices to devices to help people with severe vision disabilities and achieve greater independence.
  • Recently, AIIMS, New Delhi has successfully performed robotic surgery where it removed thymus gland from patient suffering from ‘Myasthenia Gravis’ (A disease characterized by progressive muscular weakness, which can sometimes be life-threatening)
  • India is emerging as the hub for industrial Many American, Korean and Japanese firms are using them.
  • Ahmedabad- based GRID Bots will launch ROBOGRAD a robot that can clean homes and keep an eye on intruders.
  • They are the only company with the highest number of robots variant going up to 280. KUKA Robotics (India) Pvt Ltd is the only robotics company in the world supplying robots to the entertainment and medical sector. Recently Dr.Manmohan Singh talked about the need to increase activities in the Indian Robotic Space, since we plan to go in for precision guided munitions as well as unmanned vehicle   technologies in the 12thand 13th five year plan period
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